The chili I had for dinner isn’t sitting right with me and I am fed up with the stupidity of a fake holiday, extended pandemic nonsense and living in a house that needs work I am not going to pay to have done.
Should have spent the lousy couple of bucks on an extra heater when I thought about it and not listened to others who are pennywise and pound foolish.
Should have listened to the voice inside my head that said maybe you ought to walk away but chose not to and well here we are.
Not surprised or shocked but dealing with the consequences nonetheless and thinking about a conversation from a short while ago.
“I tolerate quite a bit until I don’t and then I turn on a dime and become intolerant and it doesn’t just fade away. Some people explode and forget and others explode and remember.
If you care enough you can read about it in the places you know of and if you don’t, well I understand because I pay attention to action more than I focus upon the words.
Forty Five Years Later
My daughter and I are standing in the open garage watching snow fall while she listens to me tell her about my first time in the snow.
“Grandpa took me to a camp in Big Bear for an Indian Guides trip. I was so excited I jumped out of the car and buried my hands in the snow. It looked like powder. Didn’t take long before I started crying because my hands and ears hurt.
I was seven and I ignored his telling me to put gloves on a hat on.”
We get distracted by the powder falling and I don’t finish the story but I remember more moments, like when he took me to the out house we used as a bathroom at the camp and how cold that was.
The smell of burning plastic in the dining hall that came from the entire camp burning our plastic plates and dishes.
Fast forward a few more years to a family trip to Camp Seely in Crestline. We’re in the snow again but the whole family is there and I am all of 11 or 12.
I get into a snowball fight with some teenagers and at first I do a pretty good job of holding my own. Got a decent arm and good aim and I nail a couple of the older boys.
They aren’t happy about that and start concentrating their aim upon me and I can’t block enough of their throws to get my own in and recognize it is going to get ugly.
They are coming at me and there isn’t anyone on my side so I take off running. Stop behind a couple of trees to catch my breath and return fire the same way I have seen it done on television.
Take off running again and make it back to our cabin and they are on my ass. Bigger, faster and in a moment I’ll find out stronger.
Because I’ll try to hold the door shut and they’ll pull it open and pound me with snowballs. More than a couple catch me in the head and now I am fighting not to cry with pain and anger.
I think I got one more shot in on them, but I honestly don’t remember. But I remember going after one of them later on and getting yelled at by his mother for catching her boy with a shot to the side.
She tells me I am lucky I had good aim and didn’t hit him in the head. I don’t tell her I missed because I was trying to hit him in the face.
Snow and I have a complicated relationship because not every memory is positive and I haven’t been in it that often.
Could be just the moment and the aggravation I feel now or something else. Maybe some of column A and some of column B because at the moment there is this feeling that too many things haven’t worked as I had hoped.
Probably just the moment.
Probably the irritation with having been poked one time too many and the lack of recognition.
Nine degrees outside, snow falling more slowly than before. Made one last pass across the smooth white lawn and driveway, no hat or gloves for the quick pass.
Echoes of the seven-year-old in the back of my mind and a discussion Dad and I had about that moment four or five years ago.
“Was a rougher lesson, learned the hard way not to do that. Didn’t I.”
Dad laughs and nods his head.
“You never did that again.”
“I learned to walk it off. That is how your generation taught mine. Shake it off and keep going. You know some people call that kind of aggressive parenting.”
“Are you bothered by it?”
“Not so much. We survived. You noticed I never jumped when your grand kids fell down. If they had fallen out of a tree or taken a real fall I would have, but not for the basic stuff. I waited to see if they picked themselves up. They react to how we react. Panic and they panic.”
“We all do the best we can. There is no guide. Some do better than others.”
I nod my head and say he is right.
“We do what we can and hope for the best. It is all we can do.”