It was 1977–the winter of my 13th year. You guessed it—not a great year: Eighth grade. Junior High. Need I say more?
I’ll add that I was nearly 6-feet-tall, a GIRL, gangly, with B-R-O-A-D shoulders, glasses, AND braces. Oh, and short hair that was supposed to be a cute “shag,” but mainly caused folks to mistake me for my older brother. Ha-ha.
But then, a miracle happened.
Just before Christmas break ended—a snow blew in. The dreaded return to school (and all that yucky PEER PRESSURE) was delayed!! Not only did it snow once– on it came, snow upon snow, until we missed six straight weeks of school! For middle Tennessee–where a couple of one or two-inch snows per year is the norm…
this was incredible.
What a glorious gift those weeks were—a last chance to press pause— before re-entering teen life. I don’t know when puberty hit me, and have no idea when it left. But like everyone—I knew when I was in the middle of it—and it wasn’t good. But oh, those 6 weeks were like an instant rewind to being a 9-year-old again.
A gift from heaven.
There was nothing to do but simple chores and play in the snow with my brothers and the neighbor boys. No worrying how your hair looked, or if you had a pimple, or what clothes to wear. No worrying if you were “good enough” or if so-and-so liked you.
No one cared!
We were too busy finding the best sledding slope, daring each other to catapult over the creek, or hooking up the round silver sled to Sugar the pony and trying to sling each other off–as she galloped giant pony donuts in the pasture. We went to bed aching and sore from bumps, crashes and laughter.
And once again..who cared!
Some days we’d slide around on the pond, if the temperature stayed well below freezing, or hike through the woods with BB guns, shooting at squirrels–as if we might hit one. When we were frozen, we’d stomp back inside to play long games of Monopoly, Crazy Eight, or ping pong in the garage. Maybe read a book by the fire–or watch old re-runs (selected from one of our 4 attenna-TV stations!).
We didn’t know it then, but how lucky we were that there was…
No cell phone.
No video game.
No cable TV.
Because we played together like children–and laughed—or sometimes argued! But still together. And together might not have happened much–were it not for the pure simplicity of those weeks.
Now, the memories feel as close as the winter snow outside my window today — fresh, cool, and enticing.
And I’m left smiling…and longing for a simpler time.