Front Porch: It’s nearly time for an old-fashioned snowball fight
This winter I’m old enough to say, “I remember when …”
I remember when the school bus to Broadway Elementary only went through second grade so we walked or biked the mile to school from third through sixth grade. No. It wasn’t uphill both ways, just the way home.
The only time I minded that walk was on band days. I played the trombone. But I solved this weightlifting problem by conveniently forgetting my instrument at school as often as possible.
I remember when we went out for recess no matter how cold it was, even in January 1979 when the average temperature was 19 degrees below normal, with highs between 2 and 18 degrees. Even on the days they opened the gym for recess, we still had the option to go outside. Most of us chose to go outside.
I remember when we made snow forts on the playground and packed snow into balls for wintertime warfare.
I remember throwing a lot of snowballs, most of them missing their mark because running and laughing make for poor marksmanship.
I remember when my hurried toss of compacted snow connected with its intended target. This sparked a gut squeeze of anticipation and a quick decision. “Do I make another snowball or do I duck and run?”
I remember when a snowball sometimes smacked me in the face, stinging my skin into a pink rash that occasionally became a battle scar the next day.
I remember crying or not crying depending on who threw the snow and how cold or wet I already was. If it was my big brother, I might stalk off, snowball fight over. If it was anyone else I’d grimace and soldier on, getting payback by lobbing an icy missile of my own.
I remember when a boy I liked put snow down my back and I returned the chilly favor while laughing. I remember a lot of laughter.
Time, they say, can make us nostalgic, blurring the bad memories and exaggerating the good. It also marches on. Things change.
My “remember whens” don’t apply to today when local schools tend to keep kids inside if it feels like it might be under 15 degrees. Though the decision is made building by building and Central Valley School District doesn’t have an exact policy for enforcing inside recess, based on reports from my kids and conversations with parents over the last few years, students tend to stay inside if it’s too cold, too rainy, or too snowy as well.
And when the kids venture into the cold, they’ve been encouraged to leave the snow on the ground and admonished that this wonder of winter should not fly through the air at another person, under any circumstance.
Sure, they have reasons, but something is sadly lost when they throw out snowballs while running from big L words that I never saw on any spelling test.
I remember when words like litigation and liability weren’t gatekeepers for childhood fun.
That’s why, when school lets out for Christmas break, if the weather cooperates I’m going to start a snowball fight.