a small julia and a bear 1 2 3 4

When I was about seven, my father constructed a snow castle for us in the front yard. There were thrones and battlements and a glorious view. It was spectacular - the world outside was encrusted in ice and blanketed with snow, and our castle was rock hard and crystaline. A snow castle!

Snowstorms were the best part of winter. They began with our neighbor the county snow plow dispatcher calling my father the meteorologist to ask about a potential storm: Should he plan to be up extra early? We'd go to bed at the normal time, praying for snow. The county - despite shady rural roads that were inevitably icy - would never decide to shut the schools until 6 am - based on the yuppie roads in Ivy, not the rural roads in the county. They still do that.

Sometimes they'd let us sleep right through the normal wakeup time, and would wake up late, with the room impossibly bright from reflecting the snow. Othertimes, we'd dash out of bed far quicker than we would any other day for the radio (and back into bed) or for a large hot chocolate to watch the television. Snow days were special, because my father would leave for work late and come home early. As we got older, that meant board games and more adventurous sledding runs.