Once upon a time… (actually it was the winter of 2002) The Bitch received a phone call from a relative who complained and complained about the weather to the point that the bitch rolled her eyes and tried to preoccupy herself with other things while the relative continued to whine. She no sooner hung up from this relative when another relative, the sister of the first relative, called. This relative also went on and on about the weather situation making The Bitch want to scream. It’s a Canadian winter, she wanted to yell. It’s been like this all your life, she thought, biting her tongue. You should be used to it by now. The Bitch, however, restrained herself. After all these relatives were older and demanded a little respect and attention. At least that’s what she thought at the time.
Earlier that day, The Bitch had pulled on her snow pants, which always made her feel like Ralphie’s little brother in the 1983 movie A Christmas Story. It was a beautiful blue and white and crisp day. A day to be outside. The Bitch and her husband (AKA The Doc) had donned their skates and spent a couple of hours gliding all over the frozen lake. Ideal skating conditions are rare on the lake so seizing the moment had been imperative.
Refreshed and invigorated and feeling like a kid again, The Bitch was frustrated with these relatives who could so easily spoil her euphoria. She wanted to capture those feelings before they disappeared so she sat at her computer and wrote the following story:
The Winter Year
It was April. The sky was blue. The air was fresh. The ground was still covered with deep drifts of snow.
Let’s go for a walk,” said Sally.
“It’s too cold,” said her mother. “I’m going to wait until spring.”
“Do you want some help in the yard?” asked Sally.
“Too much snow,” said her father. “I’m going to wait until spring.”
“Come out and play,” urged Sally.
“Everything is still frozen,” said Jillian, her sister. “I’m going to wait until spring.”
“Let’s take Sherlock outside,” said Sally.
“And do what?” asked her brother, Jeffrey. “I’m going to wait until spring.”
Sherlock raised his ears, looked at Sally with his big brown eyes and ran to the door. “What if spring never comes?” asked Sally.
“It will come,” they all said. “The snow will go, and it will come.”
Sally pulled on her snowsuit, along with her mittens and boots and stepped outdoors with the large happy dog. While her family waited for spring, Sally and Sherlock ran around the snowy yard. They weren’t cold. They didn’t stay still long enough to get cold.
May came. The sky was blue. The air was fresh. The snow stayed.
“Will I ever see my garden again,” complained Sally’s mother. Where are my tulips? Where are my daffodils?” While her mother wished for spring blossoms, Sally and Sherlock made a family of snow people and dressed them in colourful hats and scarves. They looked so beautiful standing in the garden.
June came. The sky was blue. The air was fresh. The snow stayed.
“Will I ever work in the yard again?” groaned Sally’s father. “I like cutting the grass and trimming the bushes.” While her father daydreamed about mowing the lawn, Sally and Sherlock dug tunnels in the snow. They worked all day in the yard to create an entire tunnel city.
July came. The sky was blue. The air was fresh. The snow stayed.
“Will I ever go to the beach again?” mourned Sally’s sister, “I miss playing volleyball and Frisbee.” While Jillian imagined summer sports, Sally tossed a Frisbee and Sherlock caught it in mid air. They ran and jumped and rolled in the snow. They were so athletic.
August came. The sky was blue. The air was fresh. The snow stayed.
“Will I ever go sailing again?” cried Sally’s brother, “I want the lake to be blue and breezy.” While Jeffrey thought of winds and sails, Sally took Sherlock to the frozen lake. She put on her skates and attached a leash to Sherlock’s collar. The dog ran and Sally glided behind him. She sailed all around the lake.
September came. The sky was blue. The air was fresh. The snow stayed.
“What are we going to do?” everyone moaned. “We used to go camping and have picnics.” While everyone wandered what to do, Sally set up the pup tent and crawled inside with Sherlock. After a short nap, they dined on a lunch of cheese sandwiches and chocolate milk. “It’s true,” she said, “Things taste better when you eat them outside.”
October came. The sky was blue. The air was fresh. The snow stayed.
“How can we have Halloween?” everyone cried. Pumpkins don’t grow in snow!” While everyone hung plastic decorations, Sally and Sherlock carved jack-o-lanterns in chunks of ice. Sally strung orange lights behind their chiseled faces. They created an eerie glow and a Halloween masterpiece.
November came. The sky was blue. The air was fresh. The snow stayed.
“This snow must go!” everyone yelled. “Call the weatherman! Call the Prime Minister! We are tired of looking at it!” While everyone growled about the snow, Sally cross-country skied with Sherlock over the trail. They looked at the blue sky. They looked at the green trees. They looked at animal tracks in the snow. They saw so many things on the trail.
December came. The sky was blue. The air was fresh. The snow stayed.
“Snow,” everyone said. “At least we will have a white Christmas.” While everyone prepared for the holiday, Sally and Sherlock made snow angels and snow dog angels all over the yard. They decorated the trees and made wreaths for the snow family in the garden. It was a merry display.
January came. The sky was blue. The air was fresh. The snow stayed.
“Maybe, you should stop waiting,” said Sally.
“What do you mean?” her family asked.
“All you ever do is wait and wait and wait,” she said. “What if the snow never goes? Are you going to wait forever?”
. . . Forever, her family realized, was an awful long time.
Suddenly, coats and hats and mittens and scarves were tossed about while they scrambled to get into their winter clothes. Feet were slipped into fuzzy socks then pushed into boots and stomped into place. When they were all ready, Sally and Sherlock gathered the snow racers on the hill. Everyone spent the day racing down and running up. It was a major winter event.
February came. The sky was blue. The air was fresh. The snow stayed.
Sally and Sherlock skied the trail with mom. They explored the city of tunnels with dad, played snow Frisbee with Jillian and went sailing on the frozen lake with Jeffrey. Before they knew it, the month was over.
March came. The sky was blue. The air was fresh. Outside, Sally could hear the trickling sound of melting snow. “Well,” she said, “it couldn’t have happened at a better time. My snowsuit is getting too small.”
Although this story was a finalist in a writing for Children competition and has been edited many times, it never found a publisher so The Bitch has decided to publish it here. It seemed like a good metaphor for COVID. These days the bitch is almost as old as her complaining relatives were. She has less patience with the whiners so doesn’t listen as much as she probably should. She still pulls on her snow pants, her boots with cleats and a pair sheepskin mittens and walks in the winter and waits every year for those ideal conditions so that she and The Doc can put on their skates and glide around the lake.
Thanks for reading
Photo: Jenn Stone