When snow fell on Woodland Terrace, every child clung to the dream that Bridgewater schools would be cancelled. When that dream became reality, my brothers and I would litter the hallway with woolly hats and thick socks then rummage through the rear of the closet for heavy boots with knotted laces. Brandy, our German short-haired pointer bounded impatiently from front door to kitchen door waiting for us to get dressed. We wore snow pants and what we called ‘ski’ jackets; mine was reversible and boasted a detachable hood trimmed in faux fleece.
In our haste, zippers snagged on mittens requiring the skill only our Houdini of a mother could provide. The three of us grew impatient waiting for much younger Sibling Sister and promised we would return for her. As we headed out the door, you could hear Jessie’s running commentary from the kitchen, “Why don’t you wait for your sister, and why can’t you use the same drinking glass more than once and don’t come back in here tracking snow all through the house…”
Outside the snow was as cool and white as a roll of peppermint Lifesavers. Shovels leaned against the garage just waiting for us to dig into the snow blanketing our vertically sloped driveway. You could see where my father had bravely navigated the car from the top of the driveway to street level, with a great flourish of spinning tire tracks at the bottom. There was a mountain of snow left to clear but there were also snowmen and snow forts to build. Playing in the snow was hard work and bone chilling. After several hours, I retreated back inside, ducking one last snowball lobbed my way.
Our house sat up the hill, directly above the house owned by elderly Mr. and Mrs. Agnew. It was common knowledge that Mildred Agnew kept a pair of binoculars at the ready in order to keep her finger on the Woodland Terrace pulse. On that particular snow day, Mildred didn’t need binoculars to watch the drama unfold.
My oldest brother Neil remembers in excruciating detail:
A fairly large storm had left a huge amount of fantastic packing snow, ie, mildly wet and compactable white stuff that would give one real life experience in building a typical cartoon-type boulder. A boulder that grew and grew as it rolled downhill. As luck would have it, Warren and I kept building a boulder of fairly large dimensions across the front lawn until we ultimately were able to push it down the hill.
As it gathered both speed and more snow, it grew into something one would expect on a Roadrunner vs. Wile E. Coyote contest. It crossed Woodland Terrace in a nanosecond, and reached the bulging eyes of Mr. Agnew in a flash just near his detached garage. He sidestepped death by mere inches.
Naturally, I blamed Warren.
In the kitchen, Jessie divvied up marshmallows between Pyrex custard cups and gave the chocolate pudding in the Farberware double boiler a stir. Gene Rayburn was thanking us for tuning in to The Match Game and Barbara wanted to change the channel so we could watch Scooby Doo. All was right in our little snow day world, until the telephone rang. Mildred Agnew was on the line.
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