Up To Our Ears

Scenes of tromping, flailing, and giggling through ridiculously deep snow.

Every year I long for snow on Christmas, but the southern Maryland climate I call home almost never allows for it. This year, though, I got my wish — and then some.

Out of nowhere, it seemed, the snows came heavy and hard on Friday, December 18. Hubby and I had been attending my grandfather‘s memorial dinner in Aberdeen; the storm began a few hours later as we pulled into our driveway. A mere 60 minutes later when I peeked out the window, everything was already completely white. Our road was no longer even visible, and the weather forecasters predicted no end in sight until Sunday. They were right. The inches piled up in our yard, and I bounced up and down in glee.

The library where I work had called early in the morning to let me know I didn’t need to come in, so Hubby and I donned our warmest, fuzziest pajamas and reveled in our rare shared Saturday off.

Our dog, Oscar the Pug, spent the first two years of his life in South Carolina, so this was his first real experience with snow. He was not a fan. When Hubby first set him down, he sank right in, finding himself shorter than the massive snowdrifts in our yard. Instead of doing his business, he just stood there, shivering and shaking snow off his fur and staring at the stuff disdainfully.

Hubby and I were forced to shoulder our respective snow shovels — mine’s a shiny plastic pink — and dig His Pugness a long trench across the yard, along with clearing a flat area so he could relieve himself in his usual spot. Of course, the snows kept falling all throughout the day, so for every outside trip we had to re-shovel our already-filling-in path.

Eventually Oscar learned to enjoy the snow. He discovered that if he spread out his toes and legs, he could scuttle along the crunchy surface like a waterbug, and he had fun eating snowballs and digging tunnels and riding on top of my shovel as I dragged it around the yard.

Oscar in the snow

Upon re-entry into the house, we would shuck off wet clothes and heap them into the dryer and swaddle the pug in a big towel to dry and warm him. All three of us would jump onto the couch in a big heap, curling into blankets and nursing hot cups of tea as we warmed our frozen limbs.

We watched movies, brewed coffee and cocoa, munched grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup, read, and enjoyed the break from everything. I cooked up a huge pot of buffalo chili with the odds and ends that I found in my refrigerator, and we went to bed warm and happy and full.

Sometime early on Sunday, the snow finally stopped and the world was still. Figuring I would probably have to go back to work on Monday, Hubby and I set out to clear the driveway in the afternoon.

By our measurement, 22 inches had fallen on the neighborhood. Only half of our new wooden picket fence was visible, several porch steps had completely disappeared, and both our cars looked like igloos on wheels. It took us hours to forge a path and dig them out. The snow came up well over my knees, which made me virtually useless since I kept falling and flailing around the yard.

We took a break from shoveling to chuckle at our silly, coverall-clad neighbors who were trying valiantly to pull their pickup trucks out of their driveways. Once they managed to pull one out, they attached it by chain to another truck and started pulling and squealing and spinning out. Because our entire neighborhood road was still under 2 feet of snow, they didn’t get much farther than the mailboxes, which they promptly crashed into, laughing all the while.

A little farther up the road, one car had gotten completely stuck. Rather than dig out of the mess, the owner simply abandoned it there in the middle of the street with a taped-on sign that read “SORRY.”

Figuring that we wouldn’t be going anywhere for a while (indeed, the plows didn’t reach our development until late Monday), we abandoned our shovels and instead knocked icicles from our roof, photographed the house and each other, and began an epic two-person snowball fight, which one of our small neighbor children watched with some amusement from across the street.

Hubby had the clear advantage, since his extra foot of height allowed him to move around a lot better. But I still put up a valiant fight in between my falling and stumbling, eventually winning by hugging him around the knees and bringing him down face-first into a huge snowdrift. Both of us completely red and giggly and soaked, we called a truce and headed back inside for hot showers and some more chili.

Article © 2010 by Molly E. Weeks