NORMAN — The magic in snow and ice bring out the kid in everyone. Make believe only needs a few believers.
“Catch me, Dan!” Wilma shouts, arms thrashing for balance, as she slides too fast down a hill made slick by others, using feet as sleds.
“Don’t worry. I’ve got you!” her friend shouts. He’s waiting at the bottom with his legs planted firmly and arms held out to catch her.
Wilma’s feet fly out from under her just as she reaches him. She slaloms under him and all the way to the bottom of the hill.
Her friend claps. “Olympics in five years!” he teases her.
Many conquer a snow-covered hill on large pieces of cardboard. “Stop it!” Sally shouts at her brother, as the flattened box they’re riding starts whirling around faster than it’s sliding. She can see her brother twisting the box side to side.
“I’m not doing anything!” Damon claims. “It’s the box. Just get off at the bottom if you don’t like it. My friend wants to ride.”
The makeshift sled smashes into a snow embankment. Damon prepares to drag the box back up the hill. Sally follows: “That was fun. I want to do it a thousand times!”
The young never seem to mind a little snow in their boots while adults may object. No one chooses cold disguised as fun.
One of the neighbors builds a huge sled from scrap lumber and wires a rubber bumper to the front. The bumper is protection when he pulls the sled behind his car. Adults as well as kids want to ride. “This is fun!” his sister-in-law comments to another rider. She hangs onto the sleigh until her knuckles freeze.
A car comes toward them. Casey turns the corner fast to avoid it. His riders fall right and left into the snow embankment. Some slide into a cow pasture.
Casey stops instantly and runs back.
“Casey, come get me out of this pile of cow patties!” his sister-in-law yells.
Play in ice and snow captures the imagination as snowball battles turn ordinary folk into wild creatures. Stan hides behind the snow bank pressing snow into firm balls. Just as his neighbor Al comes home from the store, he lets loose with several well-placed snow grenades. “Ah-h-h!” Al yells as groceries fly everywhere.
“Gotcha!” Stan cries, victorious. “Remember the last snow? You piled so much snow against my door I couldn’t get out.” Stan’s victory is short-lived as snow pours down his back and front and covers his face so that he can hardly see.
“How do you like the shower?” the neighbor’s wife says. “Have some snow cream.” Before Stan can recover, she’s filled his mouth with snow. “Enjoy,” she says. “And don’t fool with my stuff again.”
Folks seem to enjoy themselves more when they make their own snow fun. Most know when to tease and when to stop. If not, they usually enjoy snow showers at rare moments.
Shirley Ramsey, a retired professor of journalism, lives in Norman.