It’s summer here in Houston, so it’s hot and humid as balls. What better time to tell you a story of one of my few childhood experiences with winter-weather?
That One Time When It Snowed
I grew up in rural Northeast Texas, which I have often called the armpit of the state, with good reason. While not as hot and humid as where I now live, because I’m a masochist like that, it is borderline tropical. Winter lasts about a month, tops.
But there were a handful of rare occasions during my childhood when it snowed. On still fewer of these occasions, the snow actually stuck. I was still really small the first time (I just give up on assigning my appropriate age to these stories), and I remember it being Christmas.
My siblings and I awoke Christmas morning to find the world coated in white. We were in awe, too amazed to remember the pile of presents under the tree for maybe a whole minute. All we wanted in the world was to go outside and play in this strange white world. So once we’d had breakfast and littered the living room with new toys and wrapping paper, our mom put us in our warmest clothes and sent us out into the front yard.
We had this old, rather decrepit red-brick porch, and it was iced over along the edges. I remember standing hesitantly on the porch near the door; as much as I’d heard about snow and snowmen and snowball fights, I was still very small and a little leery of this whole winter-weather business. My older sister had no such qualms. She bravely but cautiously made her way down the icy steps, showing me it wasn’t hard as long as you were careful. My brother followed suit, but I remained behind, eyeing the ice in my ambivalence. To brave the ice and play in the snow, or go back in the house where it was warm and safe? I got up what little gumption my small frame could contain. I wanted so badly to play in the snow.
I was placing my first tentative foot on the step when my sister took off through the snow, reveling in the frozen wonderland that was our front yard—until she hit a patch of ice cleverly concealed beneath the piles of snow in our driveway. Her foot slipped on the ice, and like a cartoon character her foot continued moving forward, arching into the air until her other foot came off the ground, too. Her body then reversed course, thanks to the handy and amusing laws of gravity, and she landed directly on her butt.
As soon as my brother and I stopped laughing, we went in to get Mom. My sister was fine other than a sore bottom and a bruised ego, so we were all loaded into Dad’s truck for the two hours it took to drive the 20ish miles to my grandparents’ house for Christmas dinner.
This is one of my favorite childhood anecdotes, if for no other reason than it was, for once, not me that fell down and got hurt.