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Matthew Girard column: Say it ain’t snow

Matthew Girard
More Content Now
The Rolla Daily News

Columns share an author’s personal perspective.

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I have spent the majority of my adult life avoiding snow. I have spent the majority of my adult life avoiding snow because I learned everything I ever wanted to know about the cold, wet, powdery stuff when I was a youth growing up in western Kansas.

Snow was a fixture during the winter months growing up. Along with the chill-you-to-the-bone wind, there were many school days spent sloshing through the mounds of snow piled up along the sidewalk from the snow plows, there were days where my siblings and I would shovel our small but quite steep driveway at least five times in one day. Later on, when I became old enough to drive a car, I came across even more reasons why I didn’t like snow. From having to dig out the wheels, to waking up at least an hour before I had to get ready for school to start the car to let it run, to chipping through ice sometimes an inch or two thick on the windshield on a regular basis for many years, I finally decided I had had enough.

I decided I was moving to the South, where snowfall is a very rare occurrence. It’s so rare that I can count on one hand the number of times it has snowed since I moved to Texas in 2006. And even when it has snowed, it was what my family, friends and neighbors back home would call a “dusting.”

Because of that fact, my 7-year-old daughter had never truly experienced snow - until last Sunday.

Since she became aware of snow, my daughter has been obsessed with getting her hands on a freshly packed snowball. She asks for snow on her birthday because it is in the winter, she asks Santa for snow on Christmas, and anytime she sees a picture of snow from her aunt and uncle - who live where it snows - she runs off to pack a bag of her “winter clothes” in case we decide to go there.

While she didn’t get snow for her birthday or Christmas this year, last week we learned that our area of Texas was very likely to see snow on the following Sunday. Having seen what is considered “a lot of snow” in Texas before, I was skeptical of the multiple inches that were being predicted by the meteorologists. For the next couple of days, I tried to temper my daughter’s expectations after she had learned it was supposed to snow, explaining that there probably wouldn’t be enough snow to build a snowman.

Although she was excited about the possibility of romping around in the snow, her lack of experience with snow left her with some burning questions the night before the snow storm hit.

“When it snows, do the snow leopards come right up to you so you can pet them, or do you have to go find them?” she asked as she was laying down for bed.

“When I eat the snow, will it taste like the pink bubblegum snow cones we get at the store?”

“If there isn’t enough snow to build a snowman, can I make more by using my breath?”

“Sounds like you’ve got some investigating to do,” I said with a smile.

“I’ll get back to you tomorrow, Daddy,” she said as she dozed off into a winter wonderland dream world.

In the morning the snow began to fall and soon it was clear that the meteorologist had got it right for a change. Within an hour, there was at least an inch of snow covering everything, with no signs of it letting up. As the snow continued to accumulate, my daughter ran to get bundled up to go and join her friends in the cul-de-sac.

As she ran out the door with a huge grin on her face, I reminded her that I wanted a full report on the snow after she was done.

“I’ll let you know what I find out,” she screamed as she took a leap off the porch and into the now nearly 4 inches of snow on the ground.

After a couple of hours of playing and at least three outfit changes due to wet clothes, my daughter’s snow day was done and it was time to come inside to warm up. With another change of clothes and her fuzzy socks, she was ready to give me her report.

“How many snow leopards did you pet?” I asked.

“I didn’t pet any,” my daughter said. “I could tell they were scared of the barking dogs and they like to have more snow than this.”

“Snow definitely doesn’t taste like the snow cones we get. The only flavor I got was dirt. But if you eat the snow on top it’s not so bad.”

“And no matter how hard I blew, I couldn’t get my breath to turn to snow. I need to practice more.”

“Well, that’s disappointing,” I said, holding in my laughter.

“It’s not all disappointing,” she replied. “I did learn something new today. I learned that brain freezes happen when you get hit in the head with a snowball. But don’t worry, you can get rid of them by pressing your tongue into the top of your mouth.”

Matthew Girard is a columnist for More Content Now and Gannett Co. Inc. Contact him at mgirard@gannett.com.