Music touches my heart and certain songs trigger memories. Today it was “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.” Memories flooded my mind. Living in Mesa, Arizona, a white Christmas has to be a dream. In the 1950’s I loved the winter wonderland of living on the farm.
I recall crawling out from under our feather quilts. The room was cold, and when my bare feet touched the floor it felt as though I was walking on sheets of ice. I glanced out the bedroom window from the second story of our farm home and squealed with delight, “Dee Dee. Dennis, it snowed last night!” The only break in the beauty of the snow was Dad’s footprints leading to the barn where he went to milk the cows. The row of round metal granaries and the big gray stone silo stood towering above the barn wearing their caps of white snow.
We three kids flew down the stairs catching every other step and found Dad sitting in his easy chair in front of the window seat. We were talking all at once, begging Dad. “Please Dad, will you take us for a ride on the sleds?”
“OK, as soon as I get through with chores, we will go.”
We hustled to the kitchen to find Mom, and gobbled down the pancakes she fixed for me and Dee, and the French Toast she fixed for Dennis. Mom always made two different breakfasts to appease our preferences. We headed to the coat porch to get our snow suits. It was quite a chore for Mom to help us struggle into our snow suits, put our snow boots on and slip our fingers in our gloves. We topped off our winter attire with a stocking hat that covered our ears. “Mom, Come ride the sleds with us, please! It’ll be fun!”
“OK, I will this time.” She put on a pair of Dad’s old coveralls, boots and stocking cap. By the time we made it outside, Dad had already tied a couple of Red Racer sleds to the back bumper of the pickup. I shared a sled with Dennis. Dee rode with Mom. The sleds were red and brown and looked like it had wings on the front. You pulled the wing to the left if you wanted to veer to the left side of the road, or to the right to go the opposite direction.
“Away we go!” Dad drove slowly, and Duchess our brown shepherd-mix dog dashed along behind us. We were lucky. Not all of our friends had sleds. Some used scoop shovels and others used old car hoods, but they had just as much fun as we did.
I squealed at Dennis as he recklessly made the sled swerve in and out. “Quit doing that Dennis, you are scaring me. Look, you about hit Mom and Dee. You’re going to dump us off!” Dad drove around the section slowly, keeping his eyes on us out the back window. He stopped frequently, every time Dennis and I fell off. We passed the mail box, then over to the Bartlett corner and ended up on the steep hill by the irrigation well and silage pit. Going around once was enough. On returning to the house, Dad teased, “you look like three little snow men.” We were caked with snow and freezing cold.
We hung our suits on a clothes line in the basement, and raced upstairs to see who could get to the old black floor furnace grates first. We stood theiruntil our legs felt hot and our shoes smell like melting rubber. Then we knew it was time to hop off. Mom called from the kitchen, “Come here kids, have a cup of hot chocolate.” She had 5 cups piled full of miniature marshmallows waiting for us three kids and Dad. We sipped it carefully not to burn our lips! “What a fun day, I wish it would snow everyday! “
It started snowing again that afternoon, Mom offered, “Lets make snow ice cream.” We were excited and crowded on the window seat, with Bing our blue parakeet, and watched as Mom put a clean dishpan outside. We kept a close eye on it that afternoon until it filled with snow. We huddled around Mom, wanting to help make the ice cream. Together we sat down as family, and enjoyed it. Mmm Mmmm It was delicious!
Snow Ice Cream Recipe
1 cup half and half * 1/2 cup sugar * 1 capful of vanilla extract * Dash of salt * 5 cups fresh, clean snow
Mix all ingredients together and enjoy!
Prayer Focus: It is our relationships with family and friends that make the holiday’s special and every day special. We need to be grateful and thankful every day, and find a reason to celebrate life daily – with those we love.