We are thrilled to feature a new story from the famed storyteller Brian “Fox” Ellis from FoxTales International FoxTales We hope you enjoy it.
A SNOW MAN IN FLORIDA?
(Or, Why are snowmen part of the holiday celebration even in the south?)
“Mommy, Mommy, please tell us about the snow.”
“Please, please, please,” a chorus of swimsuit clad children were pleading with their mother as they took a break from swimming on this unusually warm, sunny day in December on Miami Beach.
“You see, I was born in New Jersey,” she began for the hundredth time, “and what I loved most about the winter was the snow, soft, deep and fluffy or the thick clouds of howling, blowing blizzards of snow, I just loved snow.”
“When will it snow here, mommy? Why don’t it snow here?” were Charlie’s constant questions.
His older sister Sarah answered, “cause it’s too warm here, the snow would melt, silly! Shush.”
Mother continued, “When I was a little girl, not much bigger than you, I remember school being cancelled because of the deep snow. I remember being so excited to spend the day playing in the snow with all of my friends!”
“We would all bundle up in layers and layers of clothes, long underwear, two or three shirts, a sweater, a jacket, a coat, mittens, boots and a hat. We wore so many clothes it was hard to walk. We would all meet at the park down the street. My brothers would go off with the older boys and build a big fort for a rowdy, wet and cold snow ball fight.
“One of the older girls would line us all up and make sure we all stepped in the same footsteps, so 30 kids left only one set of tracks. When she gave the signal, we would all fall down on our backside and move our arms and legs just so… this was not just any old snow angel, no way, by working together we could make a whole choir of angels, a heavenly host singing hallelujah!”
“But my favorite part of winter was making a snow man. When all of us kids worked together, the bigger kids making humongous snowballs, the middle sized kids making medium sized snowballs and the little kids making heads, we could make a whole family of snowmen, snow women and once we even tried to carve a snow dog!”
The kids laughed. The mother was lost in moment of nostalgia, remembering those warm feelings on that coldest of days.
The kids ran off towards the surf. As the youngest boy lay down, he moved his arms and legs just so, making a sand angel. Mother smiled. An idea flashed across her imagination.
On the way home she bought a bag of ice. While the kids were showering and changing, she shaved the ice in the icy maker, forming it into large and smaller snowballs. By the time the kids came back down stairs, there was an entire family of snowmen, snowwomen and even a snow dog sitting in bowls on the kitchen table. The kids laughed and clapped as mother coated them in flavored syrup and everyone ate their own icy snow man.
The oldest daughter Sarah had the biggest Cheshire grin, but said nothing. She knew what lay under the tree wrapped in glittery ribbons and bows.
On Christmas morning, when mother opened her present and first saw a picture of herself as a little girl bundled up in many layers, standing next to a giant family of snowmen, she had a puzzled look on her face. She folded back the tissue paper and saw a beautiful glittering snow man and her heart melted.
“Momma, I got you a snowman that will never melt!”
How many Christmases had passed since that first snowman?
“And so you see, that is why we have snowmen for Christmas, even in the south. That momma, that was your grandmother; that boy, Charlie, was your Uncle Chuck; and that older sister, Sarah, that was me. My grandma sent me the picture of my mother from her snowy childhood in New Jersey.”
As the children sat quietly, snuggling with their mother, they knew they had seen beautiful crystal snowmen, wooden carved snowmen, even plastic snowmen that danced and sang with brightly colored lights, but they had never seen a real snowman.
Their eyes were drawn to the shelf in the corner above the Christmas tree, loaded down with snowmen of all sizes. There were tall snowmen standing under the tree, and several snowmen hung as ornaments upon the tree. The children now knew why their mother loved them so, and wondered, because of the snowmen they had seen at their friends’ houses, how many of their friends longed for the cold bite of snow upon their cheeks.
Dedicated to Trisha Shabet, whose grandchildren still make snowmen for her every winter!
© Brian “Fox” Ellis – www.foxtalesint.com