Snow falls, and spurs memories of make-believe

Snow falls, and spurs memories of make-believe


Watching from the kitchen window as the snow blower shoots what seems to be at least an eight foot spray of fluffy white from the driveway to the end of the row of yews brought to mind what my brother said during our conversation when he called from his home in Jensen Beach during last week’s storm.

“Remember when we were kids and it would snow,” he reminisced when I informed him there was maybe a foot or so on the ground but still coming down. He went on about that long ago when kids like us ran outside as soon as the first flake fell.

“The wind would blow the snow into drifts, and we’d tunnel through to make a fort. No, not a fort, an igloo,” he corrected himself quickly. “We made believe we were Eskimos.”

He’s got a good memory. That was exactly what we would do. Siblings. The old-age investment portfolio, compounded through a shared history and with no fees attached to simply sweet-used-to be’s.

The nostalgic mood had already surfaced for me a few weeks before Christmas. The decorations for the tree, many kept for decades are gathered from their year-long repose displaying with them a variety of scenes. Memories of childhood, children growing up, mementoes of vacations taken, whatever the significance these precious pieces represent. We all have our favorites. For me, it’s the old brass bugle.

My brother was nine the Christmas he blew the whistle on me because of that horn. My best intentions were to let him know his wish was coming true that Christmas of 1955. He wanted a bugle so badly. He was treading that fine line of believing and maybe not believing and I, being two years older had already crossed over. And, in the meantime he was driving me crazy.

“Do you think he’ll being me the bugle, do you think he’ll bring me the bugle, do you think he’ll bring me the bugle, do you think he’ll bring me the bugle?”

I found it three weeks before Christmas. It was wrapped in some off-season draperies on a high shelf in my father’s bedroom closet. The fact is I wasn’t snooping around for my brother’s silly old bugle. I was looking for my presents, being the greedy 11-yearold I was. A Brownie Camera was high on my wish list that year. But, as events unfolded, I didn’t hold out much hope of it being under the tree.

I told my brother I found the bugle. Maybe it wasn’t the kindest thing to do. But what kid rationalizes? I thought I was doing him a favor. Figured I’d relieve his anxiety and he’d stop yapping about it. He got so upset he started crying and went and told my parents what I had done. Needless to say they were not pleased.

Somehow that old bugle wound up in my possession. When my two sons were young they used it when they played cavalry and once grandchildren came along and were old enough to get sound out of it when they blew in the mouth piece, it was the first thing they picked up from under our Christmas tree.

Oh, its brass isn’t shiny as it was that Christmas in 1955 when my brother tore away the wrapping and pulled it out of its box, and yet, in my mind’s eye, it remains untarnished.

I am eager to call him and share the excitement of what I am seeing outside the kitchen window. The snow blower, as if were the wind, shooting the snow from the driveway into a drift so high at the end of the row of yews we could tunnel through and build a fort.

No, wait. An igloo. And we will make believe we are Eskimos.

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