Do kids build snowmen (or shall we say snowpersons) anymore?

Where have all the kids gone? It’s been eons since I’ve seen a snowman on a front lawn.

snowman_finishing_touchWhen 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.

 

EXTINCT

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.”

donna on snowman

 

That’s me—many many moons ago—sitting on what appears to be the carcass of a snowman.

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8 Comments

  1. herheadache said,

    March 28, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    My mother wanted to make a snowman with my nephew this winter. We in Canada should do our duty and our best to see that this little pastime does not die out completely.
    🙂

    Like

  2. January 11, 2015 at 8:59 pm

    I have seen snow rabbits the size of children in a field after a snowy day. Clearly the energy is there the mood simply has to be right is all.

    Like

  3. January 11, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    lol snowpersons. Awesome catch. See I’m happy with snow persons. If someone wants to make a snowgirl go for it. The only downside is everything gets a shorter and shorter spelling. ppl, lol, y, n, omg. snowman is just shorter and before you know it it’ll be snwmn

    Like

  4. January 11, 2015 at 10:17 am

    Reblogged this on The Dysfunctional Writer and commented:
    I absolutely loved this post. It addresses a lot of the complex feelings I have toward technology. I love my phone, and I thing it’s amazing that I can find the answer to any question no matter where I am or that I can play Candy Crush while I wait in the Dr. office’s waiting room for an hour, but I also have a nostalgic part of me that’s so very sad about these “mass extinctions”. My feelings on the subject are torn.

    On one hand… When I was in high school, there was no Wikipedia. We did it the old school way–encyclopedias! It makes me glad that I waited so many years to go to college. It’s MUCH easier to research when you’ve got any given reference at your fingertips. The convenience factor is huge. And yeah, I’ve enjoyed my share of video games, social media sites, and come on… online shopping is amazing.

    However, at the same time, I get really sad when I think about it. When I was younger, my friends and I would play store, school, house, or go out and ride bikes. We scraped our knees, got in trouble for staying out past dinner, and I read A LOT.

    It really upsets me to talk to kids who’ve literally never ridden a bike or who can tell you more about Spongebob than their friends from school. My best friends were from my neighborhood, and that was because we actually spent time outside, and I met them there. We would have sleepovers and tell ghost stories or give each other make-overs instead of signing onto XBox live and talking to each other through headsets from our own homes or inviting someone over only to spend the entire time staring at different screens.

    So while I will admit the technological boom has it’s advantages and has made many of life’s burdens much more simple, I feel like it’s killing a part of our culture. When we the last time you watched a kid catching lightening bugs? Sure, we’re able to meet and talk to people who are halfway across the world, people we never would have had a chance to meet without the internet, but we aren’t even really talking to our families or the people sitting right next to us half the time.

    I understand the irony of posting this on a blog. Ha! Yes, yes, I know. But, I can’t just abstain from mourning these beloved past times. I would be extremely grateful for my cell phone or OnStar if I were stranded somewhere, but is it too much to miss some of the old ways? When people were actually social… not just connected through social media?

    Unfortunately, I am not a parent yet… but when I am, I really hope I’m able to have the time to take my kids outside and raise them to have an appreciation for life on both sides of the screen.
    -DW

    Like

  5. Catherine Johnson said,

    January 7, 2015 at 12:44 am

    Great story! Mine are both on screens right now, but I’m pleased they did go out in the back yard in minus whatever it is and play for quite some time. I miss NZ where kids are outside loads.

    Like

  6. January 6, 2015 at 10:33 pm

    First, let me say how much you look like Jen in that picture (or I guess how much Jen looks like you).
    And, still living in the north, I am happy to report that snowmen are not entirely extinct – yet. Usually at the beginning of the winter, when we get that wonderful sticky snow (which is a must for making them), you’ll see a few awkward looking, not-so-round in the snowball department, snow “people” around the neighbourhood. And yes, it always warms the heart to see them. I’m sure everyone over 40 years old or so have memories of building the Frosties once or twice in our lives. And you know what? We all try our hand at it every once in a while once we have grandchildren. Something to “pass on” in the generations. 🙂

    Like

  7. ltflener said,

    January 6, 2015 at 9:52 pm

    Perfect!

    Like


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