What I want you to know. Which is everything.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Jabba the Snowman Imprisons Han in Substandard Carbonite Slush

Any time it gets really cold like this I think about different times in my childhood that it would freeze. It was about as close as we ever got to a "snow day" here in Southeast Texas. From my non-meteorological understanding, our humid state prevents it from snowing much, even when we do get a snap of cold pushed down from the North. So, in essence, what we end up having is beautiful, Spring-like weather that comes as naturally as a New England fall, followed by rain and a cold-front that freezes the rain. What you end up with is beautiful greenery encased in ice. Flowers that were tricked into believing that Spring was here, blossom only to be trapped by a thin sheet of glass. It's really pretty amazing and I imagine a circumstance that is unique to few parts of the world.

The unusually warm January days notwithstanding, as a child you see kids on TV playing in the snow, making snowmen and sledding down hills. Even if it does snow, we'd have no hill on which to sled, so that one's kind of a double whammy. You become a little jealous and even swear that you wouldn't mind having to shovel a little snow if it meant that you'd have the ability to make snowballs suitable for pelting your brother in the face.

But, on days like this one, when the temperature outside reaches the once a year low of 34 degrees, icicles hang from the eves of buildings like fruit, ready to be plucked from a tree. Only, very early on, I was warned by my mother that these seemingly tasty treats are actually filled with bird poo and should not be treated as nature's freezer pops. The puddles in front of the drive way would glaze over with ice the way that a pitcher of tea does in the refrigerator when it isn't drank soon enough and is stored near the back. Sometimes it would freeze long enough for these small patches of water to completely turn to ice and we would have ourselves our very own 2 by 5 foot ice rink in front of the drive way. Nevermind that we didn't own skates because tennis shoes were perfectly sufficient for sliding across a 5 foot plane of ice before halting abruptly on the cement, only to quickly regain your footing, lest you plummet head-first onto the pavement, or better yet, the next stretch of drain-water-ice.

The most fun, however, came when the ice would soften and a slushy-like substance could be formed. It was as close to snow as we ever experienced, and, despite it's sub-standard quality, it was all we needed. That brown, icey, substance, littered with bits of grass and gravel would become snowballs of mass detruction. Our battles turned to chemical warfare as snowballs laced with whatever diseases resided in the puddles and ditches of the neighborhood were tossed about, entangling in hair, wounds, clothes and any bodily oriface that would recieve them. It's a wonder none of us contracted some rare disease or unknown mutation.

Our snowmen were great, as well. The best that we were ever able to muster was, essentially a one foot tall mound of dirty slug with rocks for eyes that more resembled Jabba the Hut than Frosty. At this time in my life (I was probably in my later elementary years) I was constantly being made aware of the reality of life, and how real life almost never resembled the movies. Or, as is the case with our "Jabba the Snowman," I formed the impression that TV and movies presented only the most ideal of situations and that no one actually ever made the perfect snowman with the stereotypical tapered torsoe and perfectly round head. It seemed so unfathomable that any other place could actually get colder than it was, and that anywhere else in the world could actually make a better snowman. I was always one to believe that if someone else could do something, so could I. The later disappointment of realising that life is geographically unfair was akin to my mother telling me at the barber shop that my hair "just wouldn't do that." My mom broke this news as I pointed to the 50's greaser guy in the hair style book while waiting for a haircut. He was dressed in a leather jacket combing through a dark pompodore, looking very Fonziesque (I was a big Happy Days fan) and I figured that picking out a haircut was like skimming through a Sears catalogue. All I had to do was point to what I wanted and the stylist could deliver. Why couldn't I look like Fonzie with thin, straight, whispy blonde hair. It didn't make any sense to me.

And, it didn't make to me that kids in Ohio could build a proper snowman and I was burdened with an ice-turn-slush mixture that was as pliant as the bottom of a snowcone. The one time it did snow as a kid I remember being so disappointed because as soon as I'd gathered enough snow in my hand to form a decent snowball I'd hit the grass and was pulling up the green, green grass beneath. I'm sure it's odd to dig to the bottom of snow and find lush vegetation. Not that I'd know any different.

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