Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Stay Positive: Snow Caves, Shoveling, Sledding, and Calling Clowns

A mighty dusting of snow here in East-Central Illinois. And there was a lot of stay positive material for today. I haven't done a Stay Positive feature in quite a while.

As I drove my daughter to gymnastics practice this afternoon, Hannah made a comment about how not that many people were out driving in the "bad weather" today, which led me to waxing moronic on how "when I was a kid" we had much more snow than this place ever gets.

And it is true. It's not just one of those "when I was a kid" stories. Northeastern Iowa, particularly the Cedar Valley, gets its fair share of the white stuff. One of my fraternity brothers opined on the Waterloo-Cedar Falls area and how cold it was (he visited a few times because his sister went to the University of Northern Iowa) by saying, "Waterloo-Cedar Falls, man. God hates that place. It's damn cold."

But anyway, I was talking to the kids about how when plows would move all the snow in one large area in a certain part of the old playground of Kittrell Elementary, a bunch of the older kids created snow caves. You see, the plows would compress all that snow, then we kids of Nordic and Teutonic stock would dig into the great mound of snow and create a cave with tunnels and various rooms. There were only a few winters that the snow caveworks was created and enjoyed in that area of Waterloo, but it was like what I imagine an igloo to be if it was one large flippin' igloo. We're talking about an enormous igloo.

Of course, when I talked all about this, Hanah's eyes got wide in amazement and snowy desire while Quinn, the three old commented, "Yeh, like an igloo!"

So the boy and I got back to the house after dropping her off, and we got to shoveling. Well, I got to shoveling while Quinn in his snow get-up jumped into the mound of snow I had created and then finally shoveled a little bit but mostly took his miniature shovel and flung snow at me while laughing. It was the light stuff, not the wet, packing snow that is perfect for snowballs. Or else that kid would have got his.

Well, okay, I admit it. I started the snow flinging.

Sledding ensued followed by Quinn scarfing down a popsicle and then enjoying some hot cocoa. The kid is passionate about his superhero popsicles. What's a dad to do?

After Mrs. Nasty brought back Hannah, we had dinner and settled into our routine for Quinn: the 8pm Berenstain Bears episode watched before reading and bed time.

As cartoons go, the Bears are a good one. But this episode surprised me. The only real "bad guys" in Bear Country are the bully kid bear called "Two Tall" and his two ruffian sidekicks. Two Tall was making up @#$% about third grade and Sister Bear's not-yet-met teacher to plant bad thoughts and apprehension in her mind.

Brother Bear saw right through that nonsense and promptly called them "clowns," which caught me off guard, and all three of us found hilarious because it's a great put-down. First off, that word rolls off the tongue in a wonderfully condescending manner. Just say it out loud, and you'll hear what I'm talking about.

The epithet has a softer impact than one of my other favorite words: chump. Clown is the "softer side" of chump, if you recognize the Sears slogan reference.

Take care, clowns.


Sandy Longhorn said...

I'm needing my Nordic and Teutonic today here in the mid-South. Thanks for the memory of snow caves...one of my favorite winter moments of childhood.

See ya, clown!

Quintilian B. Nasty said...

Snow caves were really fun, weren't they?

Check ya later, clown.

Dr. K said...

As you know, I sometimes vent about the bozos who cross my path. It's fun to say and creates a satisfying visual.

Quintilian B. Nasty said...

And Bozo was a clown.

Bozo has a good sound to it too.