Where have all the kids gone? It’s been eons since I’ve seen a snowman on a front lawn.
When I was a kid, there was an entire clan of snowmen in my front yard from November until April. (Yes we had lonnnggg winters. That’s life when you live in Sudbury. When we stood at our living room window, we couldn’t see anything but snow banks. It was almost summer vacation before the rest of the street materialized once again.)
I recently took a drive through my neighborhood the day after a big honkin’ snowstorm and I did not see one snowman. I didn’t even see any kids. Now I know that scientists claim we’re in the midst of a whole whack of mass extinctions, but I’m pretty sure that kids aren’t one of the species on the list (though snowmen seem to be).
The modern decline in snowmen really concerns me and after that drive through the neighborhood, I was moved to write a short story on the subject.
If you have nothing better to do with your time right now, you can read it below.
It is blessedly quiet in the car.
After spending the morning chiseling her three children away from their new 110-inch flat-screen TV, Jane has treated them to an afternoon at the Razor’s Edge Electronic Indoor Play Park. Now Jane’s head feels like it is being split in two by a lumberjack. The pinging, the zinging, the sirens, the shrieking. The place makes a casino sound like a yoga studio.
Not to mention the cost. She could have bought all the latest video games for them with the amount she’d spent on admission for four. Jane’s head spasms again at the thought. I suppose that’s the price of fun these days, she says aloud to herself, glancing in the rearview mirror at the three towheads bowed over their softly clicking PlayStations.
The windshield wipers swish away the thick flakes falling gently as Jane slowly guides the car through snow-blanketed streets. As they round a corner, she gasps at the sudden sight that meets her eyes in the front yard of one of the houses ahead. The car fishtails then rights itself as she pulls to a stop alongside the curb.
The clicking continues from the back seat as the car idles. “Well, will you look at that,” Jane says with a giddy chuckle. “I haven’t seen one of those since I was a kid.”
She wipes away the condensation left by her breath against the glass. “Boys! Take a look at that. It’s a real snowman!”
“You want me to bring up a snowman on my gamer, mom?” the middle boy asks.
“No!” Jane says, frowning. “Look out the window! Someone actually built a snowman on their lawn! Right there! See?”
The oldest boy scratches his head. “How’d they do that?”
“We used to build them when we were kids.” Jane smiles at the memory. “The first snowfall, we’d be SO excited. We could barely wait to get outside and build a snowman, or a fort, or have a snowball fight…”
“But wasn’t it too cold to go out back then?” the youngest asked.
Jane turns her head to look at them in disbelief. “Grandma bundled us up in snowsuits and sent us out right after breakfast. We were warm as ovens. We didn’t go back inside again till lunch.”
The oldest boy snorts. “Sounds like abuse to me. Being abandoned out in the freezing cold and all.”
“Look, mom,” yells the middle boy, shoving his handheld over the front seat. “I built a snowman too! I used white pixels!”
Jane groans, slumps in her seat, and regards the towering Frosty outside. It has a carrot nose, pebble eyes, and tree-branch hands. Exactly like the ones she used to build. She smiles. The memories warm her heart. She is about to turn around and tell the boys about the time she and her sister dressed their snowman up in grandpa’s expensive hat and scarf when she hears a fresh round of clicking resume in the back seat. All three heads are bowed once again.
Jane narrows her eyes, puts the car in drive and makes a U-turn.
“There’s been a change in plans, boys! We’re going to the mall right this minute to buy snowsuits. And then we are going to bring snowmen out of extinction.”
That’s me—many many moons ago—sitting on what appears to be the carcass of a snowman.