Snowmen and Angels


Joseph Farquharson

When I was little my family had this tradition. At the first snowfall we’d put on our boots and coats and hats and mittens and we would walk to the corner store and buy hot chocolate, cookies, popcorn and comic books.

There was a variety of popcorn to choose from. We always bought Jiffy Pop, the kind you popped on your stove top in it’s own foil container- great tasting stuff. I  also liked Jiffy Pop because they’d give away tattoos that would stain your skin for weeks. Jiffy Pop didn’t mess around with press on tatoos.

One year my Aunt ( my Dad’s younger sister ) was over and it had started to snow . She wasn’t happy about that because she didn’t want to get stuck at my Dad’s. They weren’t exactly on the best of terms.

I was around nine years old at the time and that was the height of whatever issues they had between them. Within a year they weren’t speaking at all.

Anyway, when there was a healthy buildup of snow and my Dad asked who wanted to walk to the store with him,  my Aunt said she’d go along too- I was surprised, my Dad was surprised and I remember their cousin mouthing the word, ” why ” as she put her coat on.

” She’s my niece that’s why. ” she said at loud.

So we all headed out and it was starting to get dark and it was starting to snow again.

Me and my Aunt hung back and let my Dad and my brother and sister ahead aways.

When I was sure he wasn’t paying attention to us- which was a safe bet because now I understand that he wasn’t going to turn around because his sister was there, throwing daggers at him- I pulled my hood own, pulled off my stocking cap and jammed it in my pocket.

Then I peeled off my gloves and jammed it in my other pocket and I even unzipped my jacket a little.

” Why do you always do that? Don’t you get cold? ” My Aunt was fairly young at the time, she was around twenty-two , so we were more like siblings and before she passed away at the age of 40 we were more like sisters. Anyway, when I did weird stuff I think she was intrigued by it as opposed to feeling like a Mom.

” I like the way the cold feels. ”

” That’s kind of odd. ”

” Yeah. It itches like crazy when I warm up though.”

We were leaving tracks in the snow and I told my Aunt, ” Look.” I stopped and pushed my foot down into the snow and turned in a circle at least three times.  When I was done there was a clear spot about the size of a dinner plate on the ground.

” What are you doing? ”

” It’s icy down there now. ”

I stepped back and she looked down. “Yeah. ”

” Yeah. ” I said. ” It’s icy and slippery. ”

” Other people do stuff with snow like make snowmen and angels. ” my Aunt said.

I snorted , ” Snowman and Angels. ”

I remember it was getting a little windy and my hair was sort of flying around my face and sticking to my cheeks. ” You’re a weird little kid. ” my Aunt told me, with awe and maybe a little worry in her voice.

We were almost to the store and I put on my hat and my gloves and then I put my hood up and Iooked like any other kid who went for a walk in the snow with her family to buy comics and popcorn and hot chocolate.

I even felt like a regular kid at that point- until we walked home and I saw my patches of ice littering the side walk.

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