At one of our local churches there was a sign that said, "Whoever is praying for snow can stop now."
I agree. If I don't like the snow then why do I live here? That question is asked of me multiple times each year every time I discuss my lack of love for snow, but it hasn't always been this way. As a kid growing up in the U.P., I went sledding, snowmobiling, built forts and peed my name in the snow; hey, what boy didn't?
Those activities were before working for a living, being married and having kids came into the picture. Granted, the new activities such as working, marriage and kids are fun in their own right; they just don't compare to the fun of youth. Sledding was always an activity of high risk either from cars in the road or from trees that didn't move. I tried to regain that feeling as an adult and once went with a kids group sledding in front of the old Hancock Middle School. All that I can remember about that day is the kids telling me how high I flew off of the jump they made. Oh yeah, and the cracked tailbone that prevented me from sitting on hard surfaces for quite some time.
I honestly can't remember the last time I drove a "sled" as they are now called verses a "snow cat," due to the number of people who drove Arctic Cat machines. I drove our slow machine, a Suzuki 250, and took small jumps with it and loved racing across the ice. The only time I remember being frightened was when I went over a small open patch of water, an ice fishing hole that had expanded, granted, not big enough to swallow me up, but just big enough to make me get off the ice.
I wrote about my desire to build a snow fort. I haven't for many years and would love to if it just wasn't so dang cold out when there is snow. It's Wednesday as I sit and write this, and I do plan on going to Shopko to see if they have those brick making tools that kids use to build their forts; being outside in low temps might cure my irritability. I've tried cross country skiing and found that it's an activity that you have to get in shape to do and then you would stay in shape. I've tried ice fishing but all I catch is a cold (ba-da-bup).
Looking back at these winter events reminds me of my youth and those that were there that aren't around anymore. My uncle George died this month and some of my memories revolve around the winters at ours and his camps out in Bootjack and the fun and games that went with it. He was a man with a joke and a smile and a personality larger than life; he will be missed. Also this month a creative artist, Jan, died after a short battle with cancer. I call her an artist instead of a crafter because she and her husband truly created works of art from their imagination, their Yooper imagination and she too will be missed. It is a new year full of challenges and promises and I hope the challenges can be overcome and the promises kept for each and every one of "yoos guys."
Brian Foreman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.