Qualified Entry: Non-Fiction Category
By: Carolyn Summers
Snowstorms were still heavy and mean when I was a child in the late sixty’s. We, my parents, me and my sister, lived in a home located behind a church in a small village in Ohio. The church was literally our front yard.
Dividing our property from our neighbors was a long stone driveway which was shared between us. It glided down a small hill where it turned both to the left and the right leading to our garage and the neighbor’s barn. If you continued straight you’d go into the cornfield. No one wanted to do that.
The driveway was treacherous during snowstorms, as it was on this peculiar morning. I looked out the living room window facing the neighbor’s home and noticed that the ground was covered with a new layer of snow, and it was still snowing. The flakes were large and quickly added inches to the already heavy layers of snow on the ground.
Dad had parked his car, the night before, in the church’s parking lot which was directly connected to the main road. He had heard the prediction for overnight snowfall and knew better then to put the car in the garage. Since there was no church the next morning he had no concerns about leaving his vehicle there till morning.
I changed windows so that I could see dad working. He’d already shoveled his way up to the church and was on his way around it towards the car. He would be on his way to work soon;’ but, first he had to reach the car.
Because he had been blessed with only female children he seldom got any help, in my younger years, with male chores. But as time moved along, I became what is known as a ‘tomboy’ and helped him with all those chores. As I watched dad work I keep asking mom over and over again if I could go outside and help Daddy. Mom finally agreed.
I can still see Dad shoveling all that snow away wearing his black and red checkered coat with matching black gloves. He always wore a sporty, warm, tight fitting black hat, mostly because of Mom. She worried he’d get sick.
Mom decked me out in my new blue winter coat which had matching blue gloves. She put my hood up to cover my ears and tied it in place. Ear infection was a well-known word in my family, my sister and I had it often. I ran outside, happy to be in the snow. Now I could explore daddy’s tunnels. The snow was so deep it was over my head, and it kept falling.
Dad always dug the same type of tunnels. The more tired he became the narrower they got. The first tunnel I knew he’d dig was to the car. After that he’d go behind our house and dig one down the small incline to the garage. From there he’d branch off to the shed where our dog, lucky, lived. I was six maybe seven years old. This was the heaviest snow storm I’d ever seen. I didn’t want to miss it.
I went back into the house and out the back door; that was the only way to reach the other tunnel to the garage. I wanted to explore all the tunnels Dad had already dug.
I ran down the back steps and burst out into the freshly dug out tunnel which lead to the garage. Its sides were smooth as silk and bluish in color. I was curious to see what would happen if I shoved my arm into the side of the tunnel. It was like watching a new world come to life; it imploded before my childish eyes.
As I watched a fraction at a time little snow crystals collapsed and formed a new world. These crystals appeared as falling snow, forming new places that resembled islands. It looked like It an ice world filled with snow.
The snow atop my new world had never been touched. But when I ran my hands in the tunnels walls, a little further down, it imploded again and created yet another new world.
I stood up on my tip-toes so that I could see the rest of the snow on the ground around me. It reminded me of a silk scarf. One touch and it’d be wrinkled. Mom had scarfs like those. When she laid them out on the table fresh from the dryer they were so beautiful. One touch and they were a wrinkled mess. The top layer of snow reminded me of Momma’s scarfs, both were so gentle in nature.
I suddenly had the notion of making a new tunnel. A tunnel that didn’t need a shovel to be created; it could be a tunnel that didn’t have to go anywhere. I wanted to make my own tunnel, created just for me.
I returned to the porch where the steps were and took a big run from the porch towards the apple tree and crashed into Daddy’s tunnel wall. I created a big hole. This was a new adventure; I liked adventures.
I looked behind me. The trail I had created was almost lost in piles of snow. Bits and pieces of sections were still overhead or clasping as I watched. I had snow all over me. It was in my coat, some had shifted into my boots while even more stood at attention on my head. But I didn’t care, this was fun. Wow, how I miss those precious childhood days.