Today is my day off from work and I have errands to run and shopping to do but due to the heavy snow falling and very limited visibility, we will not be going anywhere. As you know, I am sick and tired of this snow and cold, as most people that live here are. Spring can not come soon enough and here in Minnesota, spring will not be here for awhile and we have been known to have winter until the end of May.
Mother nature can sure have a sense of humor as in bringing nice warm weather and allowing us to think that spring is here…as in the middle of May in 1983, when I left for the hospital to give birth to my middle daughter, girls were in their bikini’s laying out in the sun(Just what I want to see when I am big and pregnant!) and while in the hospital, we had record high temperatures. A week after coming home from the hospital, it started raining and eventually turned into snow and pretty soon we were in the middle of a blizzard. Talk about depressing.
So here we are having another snowfall, with below 0 temperatures to follow…ugh. At the beginning of the winter, my little people, welcomed the snow with shrieks of glee. Today, not so much. Janie, from Midlife Slices who is having to suffer with 85 degree temperatures, happens to like this cold and snow, so I invited her to come here and enjoy it with me and be the entertainment director for the little people. She is lucky that it’s too cold for the snow to stick or I would be throwing a snowball (or two or three or four) at her. Anyone up for a snowball fight?
Now if Thistle, from Thistles and Maple Leaves, didn’t live so far away, I would be trying to get snowed in with her, since she has been getting hit with this lovely white stuff too. I have dreams of getting snowed in with her and drinking wine with her to pass the time. Oh what fun! Of course Janie would be here entertaining the little people, so I would have no worries whatsoever. None.
Early this morning, as the snow was starting to fall, I was remembering a winter we had back in the 90’s. A rural church in our area, sponsored a man and his 3 children that had escaped from Sudan. It was a sad story, as this man’s wife was not so lucky. They came right smack in the middle of winter and one in which we had many below 0 days. I am sure they had no idea what they were getting into by coming to Minnesota in the middle of winter but I am sure that when you are running for your life and the lives of your children, it didn’t matter.
They rented a small house, just down the street from us. I knew many of the people from the church that brought them here, so they hooked them up with us, since we lived down the street. They spent many of their day’s at our home, either with me caring for his children while he tried to get on his feet, or eating with us and our helping him with his culture shock. It was a big culture shock for them to come to our small rural, all white, community. They spoke very little and understood very little English but somehow we found a way to communicate. Immediately cold weather clothing and outdoor wear were given to them.
This man had a very hard time with the cold weather although the snow fascinated him. I remember one of the first days that I watched his children, I offered to give him a ride to where he needed to go but he declined my offer, only to return 5 minutes later asking for a ride. From then on, he was not shy about asking for rides. He and I shared many laughs over his attempts to learn how to cook, do laundry, care for his children and deal with our weather…I think there were a couple of snowballs thrown a time or two.
What I love about smiles and laughter, is that they are universal. In spite of our communication gap, we shared laughter…and hearing him laugh was like music to my soul because I knew the horror that he came from. The other thing that stands out, is how thankful and appreciative he was towards my family and I. The constant tears in his eye’s spoke volumes and I know that often times the smiles on his face were to keep the tears from falling.
What got me reminiscing about this winter and this family, was remembering, how his children loved the snow. They played outside as much as they were allowed. They could not get enough of it. Their screams of delight each time it snowed brought tears to my eyes. They were completely fascinated by this beautiful white stuff that fell from the sky. Their delight was infectious and caused my children and I to see the snow(among many other things as well) through fresh eyes. These children were so sweet and I came to love the constant hugs I received from them over something as simple as giving them hot chocolate with marshmallows or building a snowman with them. I remember how the oldest boy loved to shovel the snow and would beg to go outside and shovel with me or my oldest son. I remember how their awe and wonder over most everything brought shouts of glee and giggles from them.
The fondness of these memories overflow as I think about all the lessons I learned about life, from this man and his children. They taught me the preciousness in the simple things in life and how much I took for granted. They helped me to see my world through fresh eyes. Eventually, this family moved to California because this man could not adjust to the cold. I have never forgotten them nor will I ever forget that winter, when I seen my world, my life, through new eye’s. I needed to remember all of this today.