We are the gatekeepers to all that is holy. The first card with that strained effort to control the crayon as it traced the hand upon paper to every report card, gift to the tooth fairy, and of course those heart to heart talks about why so and so doesn't like me. We touched our children's lives by giving them a piece of our hearts and letting them explore.
I'm writing this today because of a bit of nostalgia that came and went yesterday. Somewhere in the late 1970's we bought a huge chest type freezer from Monkey Wards. Those of you who like me, are as old as dirt understand that I am talking about Montgomery Wards. Those of you younger think a rival of Sears or Target. So for 40 some years this freezer kept summer vegetables saved for winter feast. It kept our frozen pop-cycles on hand for reducing fever. When we had our fill of Halloween or Easter candy it would keep those containers out of sight - out of mind until we were ready to eat them again and laugh over the costumes. Well, long story short, the freezer died.
So armed with winter gloves and jackets, we pulled the trashcans in the garage and began to unload it. Cherries labeled 1991, tossed. Turkey sausage when we tried a new diet. Yeah, that didn't work either. Frozen pumpkin left over from 1998's Christmas pie extravaganza. It made a unique thump. And there, tucked away under the jalapeno peppers, he sat. Still preserved in his Walmart plastic bag, a treasured friend from 1991.
My children were four, seven and eleven and it was the last time they took an interest in snowmen. Oh,it wasn't the best of snowfalls. More ice than fluffy wet snow but here in the south it was white, frozen, and earned them a day off of school.
So out there in the wet, the rolled three balls of various size. Each child took the portion they were most cut out for. The smallest did the head, middle son the body and older daughter the base. Someone broke some pine twigs for limbs, and dug down in the driveway to get stones for eyes, nose, and a mouth. He was christened Buddy Holiday.
Buddy stayed out all night but the next day temps warmed and they became alarmed that Buddy would be like Frosty and dance away. Plotting at the kitchen table over supper, they came up with the idea to place what was left of Buddy in the chest freezer. Over the years, they'd run to the freezer, open the lid, and call out the weather to their cold hearted friend. They planned calendars. Threatened to bring him out on those horrid hot, humid, days in August or even let him celebrate the Fourth of July with sparklers.
But, as the years went by, they forgot about Buddy or brought him up only sparingly. My children are now 24, 27, and nearing 31. However when I picked up the phone and called them to ask what do they think I found, the first thing out of their mouth was Buddy Holiday. You could hear them revert to their younger self. The laughter in their voice, the awe that a mother would allow a snowman to live inside their freezer. And for one last time, they were again my babies.
I put Buddy Holiday on my well and watched him begin to slowly vanish. They called and begged me to take pictures and send to them. Which of course a proud mother did. As the sun sank in the west and night fell softly, we went inside to give Buddy his privacy.
My daughter showed her son the picture and he asked why a snowman was in his Nana's yard in May. She told him the story. Someday, there will be another fine snow and she will make a snowman with her children. If they are lucky, they'll talk her into putting their frozen creation into the freezer. And in the dark of the night, when I am no longer here, they'll laugh and smile remembering what fun we had when snow fell in the south and a snowman was born.