Monday, December 27, 2010

My Father's Gloves

snowmanWell, the snow has stopped for now, but the wind continues to howl, imitating the sound of a passenger jet flying low overhead. Or the sound of traffic on the highway from the patio of my apartment in Champaign this past fall. It's funny how one thing triggers the memory of another. Oh, it's started again -- snowing. We had a couple of inches before Christmas, enough to qualify for a white one, and I have an idea Maine has seen the last of the soil until spring.

This is the kind of snow I loved and hated as a kid. Loved because my gloves didn't soak through while playing, hated because it was too dry to pack. No snowballs or snowmen will be forthcoming from this one. The wet snows were my father's bane. First, my gloves would get wet, so I'd come inside and tell my mother. She'd produce another pair, usually my dad's, and I'd go back out and play until those were too wet and cold to wear. Once again inside and "Mom!" Another pair of my father's, and you guessed it, he'd come home later to find all of his, side by side with mine, dripping in front of the radiator. This did not make him happy.

"Son, I needed gloves so that I could do some work in the barn and feed the horses."

"But I needed them to play." I felt badly -- really, I did. While I was playing, though, it was hard to see further than the next snowball.

"Mm. Well, do me a favor, next time leave me at least one pair, okay?"

"Okay." The lessons of my youth.

I think about those days when it snows because, as soon as it stops snowing, I'll go out and start digging my way from the door to the driveway, and then from the barn door to the street. My polartech gloves will be the first to dampen, then my old wind-proof gloves I got at REI in Boulder, and finally, if it comes down to it, my leather work gloves.

Thankfully, if all else fails, I still have a pair of my father's in a drawer. I guess I could always resort to those. Psst. Don't tell him, okay?


(Creative Commons image by Grant MacDonald via Flickr)

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