Friday, January 29, 2016

The Greatest Snow (Mishaps) on Earth: Snowballs

*This began as a single post, but two paragraphs in, I realized there was no way to fit all my snow mishap stories in one post.  I hope you enjoy this three-part series.*

Excepting a two-year stint in Massachusetts, I am a Utah girl, born and raised.  Snow has been a part of my life every November through February--and April.  (Utah weather likes to toy with us.)  I have fond childhood memories of playing in snow, as well as not-so-fond adolescent memories of being defeated by that menacing substance.  Snow is cold through and through.  (Oh so cold.)

My youngest children are still enamored with the stuff, though.  In 2014, I gave #5 a snow shovel as a just-thinking-about-you gift.  He loves it!  What eight-year-old boy doesn't feel more manly shoveling his family out of the house alongside his father.  I love sitting at the dining room window with a cup of cocoa, watching the two of them shovel almost as much as he enjoys the work itself.

The view from my window during a December 2015 snowstorm.
There is a house across the street that is hidden by the windy snow.
The blizzard picked up while #5 was out shoveling, but he was undeterred.
If you look, you can see his silhouette with the snow shovel.
The wind blew everything back almost as quickly as he cleared it,
so he took a break until we could see across the street again.
When I pick up the kids from school, #5 likes to point out the increased size of the giant snowball that moves a couple feet across the schoolyard each day.  He tells me that the kids with the best gloves are selected to push the snowball hands-on while everyone else lines up behind them to add pushing momentum.  As the oldest children in school, #4 and the other sixth graders have taken it upon themselves to protect the snowball from all who would do it harm each recess.  I guess they figure if they're too cool to play at recess, they might as well provide a security service while standing around out there.

My sisters and I made a snowball like that once.  We had rolled and packed most of our front yard's snow onto it and were pushing it to the backyard for more layers.  We were navigating our snowball through the side yard when we met with an obstacle: our lilac bush.  Our childish bodies strained to keep that snowball under control as we inched around the 7-ft-tall bush.  Our family's first second car, a 1973 Ford LTD, lay unsuspecting in the driveway only a few feet away.

*Here comes a tangent!  Before writing this post, I had not considered the influence of Ford in my family.  I grew up singing our extended family's song with great gusto at family reunions.  The song includes a line about "We pack our lunch and load the bunch and come from near and far, to come to this reunion in the good old family car."  (The lyrics work well set to the tune of the University of Utah's fight song.)

I always thought that was a throwaway line so that "come from near and far" could rhyme with something.  Not so.  As it turns out, the family car was an important part of each family reunion.  When my great-grandfather, Alfred, penned the lyrics to the song, he was probably thinking about the car deals that frequently went down at these family reunions.  Great Grandpa's brother-in-law, Uncle Walt, worked at the Ford dealership in Meridian, Idaho, and he always had a car just a year or two old. The Rohner reunions, which apparently influenced the Glauser reunions, became a time to admire Uncle Walt's latest Ford or Mercury.  Catching up with each other soon turned to talk of buying Uncle Walt's current, gently used car.  How convenient to have it there for a test drive!  My dad and his younger brother always got excited at the prospect, which sometimes paid off.  Both my grandpa and great grandpa bought used cars at family reunions.  This begs the question whether my brother, Jacob, is now a Program Management Analyst at Ford Motor Company because it runs in his blood--or at least in his last name.
A perk of working in Motor City:
Jake sometimes borrows new cars for the weekend.
Back to the late 1980s and our 1973 Ford LTD.  This particular car was a hand-me-down to our family from my grandparents, who got it from my great-grandparents, who got it from Uncle Walt.  For many years, this car had enjoyed gentle owners before being turned over to our family of five children.  And now there it sat, naive and off guard, relaxing in our driveway that winter's day.  As the snowball, my sisters, and I rounded the bend of the lilac bush, our lopsided, 50-lb. creation tipped to one side.  We strained against it but simply couldn't stop its momentum.  As if in slow motion, we watched helplessly as the giant snowball rolled into the driveway, right into the side of the LTD.  The steel body panel was no match for our ball of packed, icy water.
Picture this beauty with a tire-sized dent in the passenger door.
That was the beginning of my snow mishaps.  Fortunately, steel likes to retain its original shape and my parents were able to pop the body back to almost perfect.  Not all snow-induced damage is so easily rectified, though.  As the next two stories will demonstrate, my snow mishaps became increasingly perilous.  Stay tuned...


Alena said...

This is the same LTD that I eventually drove in high school, right? It's unrecognizable in it's new form. I also had no knowledge of the automobile history at family reunions. :-)

Paul said...

1. Great story about the dent. I'd forgotten about it.
2. It was Montpelier, Idaho.
3. Your 2 years in Massachusetts included the iconic Blizzard of '78 (look it up).

Mary said...

From Christy:

I don't remember any car shopping at reunions and I knew nothing of uncle Walt. I do remember, however, watching that snowball put a dent in that car. I also remember the time Dad tried to reach me to throw a baseball and I put another dent in the dude of the car, even though the car was sitting to the west and I was trying to throw south.

Mary said...

The car-reunion memories are from Dad. I had never known that our LTD likely hailed from such a sale, but I love it! Between snowballs and baseballs, that poor car didn't stand a chance. It was nice of Jacob Glauser, though, to draw the heat with his soccer-ball-through-the-picture-window shenanigan. Our snowball probably would have rested in the annals of forgotten memories had we not resurrected its story now. Jacob still gets the blame/credit for doing more property damage.

Mary said...

From Jacob (on Facebook):

I can still see the window cracking in slow motion and thinking, "oh no, what do I do now?"