Ice is Nice but Snow Glows

Do you have winter fun – sledding, tobogganing, ice skating, even skiing? Maybe now it’s a vicarious experience with kids or grandkids. I wrote about it last year in another post. Since then, I’ve paged through albums to find photos of our Floridian family having fun in the ice and snow.

For author Patricia Hampl, The Florist’s Daughter, winter fun was ice skating:

In winter, skating was even better, the whole body thrown into orbit. Ice-skating was my sport, the only athletic passion of my piano-playing, book-reading, indoor girlhood: A northern pleasure, a cold-weather art form   (129).




2000-_1200_Ian skating w Grandpa

Grandson Ian wobbly at first on cold ice on a warm day in St. Augustine, Florida. Outside temperature was almost 70 degrees, the ice got slushy, maybe a good thing for beginners.


SKIING  Gliding, sliding down a hill, that’s what skiing is under the best possible circumstances.

Before they left the nest, Joel and Crista with parents in Snowshoe, WV
Before they left the nest, Joel and Crista with parents in Snowshoe, WV

1999_0100_Marian_Cliff_Snowshoe skiing

Hilarous fun: Helen and Charles Blankenship warming up with us after a cold day on the slopes at Lake Tahoe, Utah
What’s so hiliarous?: Helen and Charles Blankenship warming up with us after a cold day on the slopes at Lake Tahoe, California



Do you remember cutting out paper snowflakes like this?



For detailed instructions with a video, click here.


Snowflakes make Emily Dickinson want to dance a jig, so she says!

Snow Flakes

I counted till they danced so
Their slippers leaped the town,
And then I took a pencil
To note the rebels down.
And then they grew so jolly
I did resign the prig,
And ten of my once stately toes
Are marshalled for a jig!

Your turn:  What is your winter fun? Sledding, tobogganing, ice skating, even skiing? Maybe now it’s a vicarious experience with kids or grandkids. We’re dying to find out.
Coming next: Teaser of Cuppa Coffee?

Snow Falling on Anchor Road

Every single memory of snow in my childhood is pleasant. Sparkling flakes in luminous free-fall as I look out the kitchen window. Snow festooning evergreen boughs. Then bundling up in snowsuits, knitted caps, mittens. Getting out the sleds.

After more than one snowstorm, Aunt Ruthie grabbed her movie camera and trained her sharp eye on some big, tall sledders who went coasting down the hill from our house to Grandma Longenecker’s.

Then she captured our anticipation of trumping through nearly hip-high snow and finally (my favorite) Mother pulling my sister Janice and I on the Flexible Flyer sled along Anchor Road.

Another parent and daughter are observing the snow in The First Snowfall by American poet James Russell Lowell, a poem I remember Mother reciting.


Mabel marvels at the beauty of the snow and inquires of its origin . . .

First Snowfall2

. . . but as the father’s replies to Mabel, he remembers the snow which hides the scar of another child’s burial plot.


Then Mabel feels her father’s gentle kiss, a kiss she will never know was intended for the daughter beyond his touch. The last stanza leaves Mabel in child-like wonder, her father in pensive grief.

Screen Shot 2014-12-29 at 12.03.34 PM

This post began with snapshots of fun in the snow and ended with a reflection on loss. But snow can be the setting for other memorable events: a frolic with friends, a car accident, a marriage proposal (I’ll save that for another post!)

You probably have memories of snow, recent or long ago. Here’s your chance to share them.

Nice Ice, Snow Aglow

Credit: Guideposts
Credit: Guideposts


Prickly winter air . . . crunchy, crusty snow . . . Flexible Flyer sleds . . . wet mittens . . . white leather ice skates.


Vintage skates now in the recycling bin!
Vintage skates just before they were tossed into the recycling bin!

All my memories of winter time in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, are good ones. Cold, soggy socks warmed up and dried out on the heat register in Grandma Longenecker’s kitchen. Frozen lips thawed by hot chocolate with fat little marshmallows bobbing up and down.

Yes, there was snow and there was ice, sometimes both the same weekend. On snowy days and nights when traffic was at a stand-still, two Longenecker Flexible Flyer sleds zipped down the curve of the long hill between our house and Grandma’s. (There were more children than sleds, so we had to take turns.) Alongside the woods, there was another, shorter hill with a steeper grade for a faster thrill.


The ice was nice on Heisey’s pond. The Heiseys, Jap and Winnie, owned the limestone quarry on the edge of Rheems, and Winnie Heisey’s  pond was filled with skaters, including me, especially on Sunday afternoons. Some skaters waltzed around the perimeter of the pond. Some played crack the whip with most landing on their behinds as the tail of skaters at the end of the line flew off in other directions. Some wobbly beginners skated slowly. The expert ones skated forward and backwards. Since it required wiggling the behind just so, I could never master this move.


Just now, can you hear the melody line of The Skater’s Waltz by Emil Waldteufel? His name would fit right in with the listings in a Lancaster County, PA phone book, but Waldteufel was not actually German, but an Alsatian Frenchman inspired by ice-skaters venturing onto the frozen Seine River in Paris. News to me!

In the orchestral piece, composer Waldteufel captures the mood of serene skaters with graceful rising and falling lines but then interjects exuberance with bouncy notes and even some sleigh bells.

The piano doesn’t do the waltz justice, but it should bring back a memory or two!

Tell us your winter memories. Do they involve sledding? Ice skating? Something else?

New year, new opportunity: Vote for My Gutsy Story @

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Voting for My Gutsy December 2013 Story began Jan. 2 and ends Jan. 15, 2014.