My collection of snowmen will linger a while longer.
Outside, on this Sunday afternoon, snow cover is still with us.
Animal tracks are everywhere.
Deer, rabbit, coon, squirrel tracks and our boot prints are easily recognizable on the footpath and throughout the wooded area by the house.
A large dog is marking the trail as well.
A fading imprint imbedded in the soft white snow nearby our driveway reminds us of the wonderful visit we enjoyed with our snow angel, Starla Gail Sartor-May, shortly after the holiday.
She loves making snow angels as much as me.
Ever since I was knee-high to a grasshopper and to this day, I have always liked snow angels.
Yes, indeed, I can still get down and back up.
I still have a good pair of wings, now complete with attached flexible flaps.
My forever friend, the late Annetta Lee Young, and I made many of them back in the day.
We built forts and fat snowmen and chiseled out many other sculptures from snow as well.
Once, we built a snowman and used my dad's good gray felt dress hat.
Dad's tie and suit vest went on the wet snow packed torso next.
We made that big old snowman look like a million dollars.
I did not think my father would mind.
He only wore dress clothes to funerals.
The stuff was just hanging around there in the closet.
Sharing with the snowman seemed the proper thing to do.
I found a withered carrot on the roof of the rabbit box and gathered up a couple of pieces of loose coal from the pile, toward the back of the old summer kitchen, near the apple tree.
I plucked two, cold crisp Jonathan apples from a bushel basketful brought up from the cellar earlier.
I gave my little friend Annetta one apple and the other belonged to the person the borrowed duds were for.
I pared a long, thin strip of shiny peel from the fruit with dad's pocketknife and gave old man of my winter dreams big red lips.
We raided the square tin corn bin and shelled two bright yellow teeth from a dried cob.
I was unaware that mom saw what we created out of snow.
We heard a noise.
Mom pecked on the kitchen window with one hand and pointed to Mr. Snowman with a finger that moved back and forth like a pendulum.
I knew from the expression on her face I was in big trouble for something.
Before we could tip the hat of the man dressed so fine, she was complaining loudly from just beyond the screen door of the back porch.
"Bring in your dad's stuff immediately, young lady!"
When my parents, either one, singled me out, in such a matter, I knew to obey.
We stripped that snowman of his pride and there he stood naked as a jaybird, exposing the chips of fodder that we picked up during the snow roll in the cornfield.
My mother returned to the house to place the hat, gloves, vest and dad's keepsake gray spats on the clothes rack near the well-kindled heating stove to dry out, with, hopefully, no shrinkage.
I remember that Annetta and I laughed because I brought out gloves and our snowman had no arms or hands.
The spats did not work either.
He had neither legs nor need of shoes.
In short, he was lacking body parts, same as many of his icy cold relatives.
Oh, he still had the shiny, bulged-out black eyes and a droopy carrot nose.
That big red mouth was still smiling until his head toppled when the sun wiped away his charm.
As for us, Annetta Lee and I built many snowmen after that season and became snow angels at every opportunity.
We ice skated in Forest Park and sledded wherever our Radio Flyer sled would take us when the weather was right.
When the snowy path that led to the outhouse became well traveled, consequently, we slid down the hill in wash pans.
The winter seasons always bring back wonderful memories such as the snowman building projects with my friend.
I know I made a bad move using those items to dress Mr. Right, but she was boss.
In those days, that weighed a lot.
I respected my mom's authority and handed over the goods.
After that sermon, in front of my friend, all of my snowmen wore nothing but a grin.
I understand why I made so many angels in the snow during those winters long ago.
I needed to work on my wings.
I reckon I still do.
I do know, in fact, when I stretched out in the snow focusing my eyes toward heaven, I feel good.
An angel in the snow!
This child of the past is in the winter of her life now.
I will build no more snowmen, but the next time the snow falls in abundance, I plan to test my wings out again.
For old time's sake.
I can be reached by phone at 446-4852 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.