|The First Snowfall|
|Written by Dana Adkins|
Snow used to cover the acres of frozen grass for more months than not, it seemed, in our backyard where I lived as a child. Huge oak trees dotted our lawn, branches smothered in the snow piled so high, if you even touched one it would all tumble down. The first snowfall was always the most memorable. Walking out of our two-story wood house, painted a light blue, the flakes would gently fall on your shoulders and tongue, persuading you to get excited about the winter to come. Waking up the morning after the first flake hit the ground, everything looked magical. There were no footsteps ruining the pristine perfection of the white mass spreading across our yard.
When my small black snow boot sunk into the snow the first time I would sprint out to the middle of our yard with my older sister, where we would stop and turn, gently falling backwards to make the first untouched snow angel. We would then get up, carefully so as not to disturb the snow around our angels, and look down, taking a mental picture. There was never as perfect a snow angel as the first one of the winter. Then all hell would break loose and snowballs were made; to be thrown at one another, to roll up into snowman, a fort, or to form some sort of throne, where my sister would, of course, be perched on the highest spot. My dad would be outside shoveling the snow out of our driveway to make room for our red station wagon we named Elvira, to have access to the road, once the city came by with their truck to clear the neighborhood streets. My mother would stay inside, though, where it was warm, coming to the window occasionally to check on my sister and I, seeing what kind of progress we had made in the snow.
Soon the neighborhood kids would gather together at our house dressed to the nines in their warmest outfits ready for a long, cold day, filled with the joy only the young and innocent can obtain from almost unbearable freezing temperatures. The adults would gather in the house, keeping an eye on us, while having their fun indoors. By this time, we had pulled out our favorite orange sled, that three of us could fit into and dragged it to the top of our largest hill in the yard. Taking turns sitting in the sled, and pushing, we would fly down our hill, through our next door neighbor's yard and if we were lucky, make it to the ditch by the side of the road leading into our neighborhood. Those really good pushes only happened sporadically though, ice patches helping to push us on further. Falling out to the sides, then struggling to stand back up in our bulky suits to begin to pull the sled back, was the worst part. Luckily, I was one of the youngest, and sometimes when the older kids were feeling generous, I was allowed to stay sitting in the sled the whole time. Other times we would use our small round sleds, that only one person could fit in, and spin the whole way down the hill.
Once exhaustion settled in, we would make our way back into our garage, where we would pull off our boots, and strip off our now soaking wet snow suits and pile them next to the door. Bounding into the house, we would run into the living room, and plop down in front of the fire, the cold beginning to melt out of our skin. Our mothers would make us hot chocolate, and bring it to us in the living room, where we would add our own miniature marshmallows and blow on it until it was just cool enough to sip. Putting on a movie, we would finally relax, lying on our stomachs, heads in hands, until dinner was ready.
After dinner, the neighborhood adults would say their long good-byes, while all of us children would complain, ready to get into our long johns and prepare for bedtime. The first snowfall was always a long and tiring day. Once everyone was gone, we would bathe and get into our pajamas. My mom would always brush and blow dry my hair for me, so I wouldn't be cold when I climbed into my bed. Finally, my parents would tuck me into my small, twin bed, with my stuffed animals all lined up around me, and the exhaustion would catch up to me. The day was over, and every year I was convinced it was the best one of my life.