Monday, January 16, 2012

Snow, Snow, Snow

Snow is a funny thing. For people like me, who prefer to watch it fall and change the landscape to a picturesque scene of ice-sicles and fluffy white powder, it is a time to slow down and enjoy the changes. Other people who prefer to interface with the white stuff in sledding, skiing, tobogganing, and other such athletic, bone chilling escapades; they are energized by the mere thought of getting outdoors. During the Olympics they are great to watch on television. Being one-quarter Norwegian and one-eighth Danish, one would think that I might find some interest in such outdoor activities. On the last day of our stay in Oslo, Norway in May, it snowed, providing us the opportunity to see this country in its very common state of being.

Snow is the foundation to many family memories. Over the holidays my daughters and their families went up to Mount Hood, so the kids could play in the snow. I bowed out of the trip, as the cold is not good for my health. During my childhood we took many trips up to or over the mountain. For a time my mother-in-law lived in Madras, so we would cross the mountain to visit her. It is a very nice drive when the weather conditions are good, but other times it is treacherous. On one trip our suburban slid across the road into a ditch, which was fortunate as on the other side of the road was a huge drop-off.

In the Portland area it is scary when we get ice or snow, as people really do not know how to drive in such conditions. The best thing to do is to stay home, let the kids enjoy the snow, and watch it all from inside. The local newscasters do go a little overboard, but they also display some great pictures of people in all the variety of activities taking place.

From my childhood memories I have two long lasting memories. First was the big snow on December 19, 1964. The snowdrifts were huge. Over 8" fell in a twenty-four hour period, and a total of 11" over two days. It was the first snowfall of the year, with the largest amount of snow recorded. It was a Saturday, school was out for Christmas break, and we spent the entire day playing in the snow. We had a partially covered patio, with a cement block fireplace, which our father kept heated for us. The best part of this and other years as well, was when he created an ice rink on the uncovered portion of the patio. We took ice-skating lessons at the Memorial Coliseum, and had ice skates of our own. Even the neighbors came over to skate. We felt so privileged to have this in our back yard.

Later in life I actually took ice-skating lessons while attending college. We may even still have some skates hiding in our storage, but I no longer have any desire to skate. My youngest son is the skater in our family, and thanks to his uncle he has enjoyed this activity. My brother continues to play hockey and he is at the 50- year mark. I enjoy watching, even when they beat up on each other.

We don't see much snow for very long here, but it is a much-loved gift from nature. Finding a way to enjoy it, is as important as recording the family activities when it is here. What snow memories do you have from the different periods of your life?

Source: National Weather Service Portland, Oregon

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