Saturday, February 18, 2012

Snow Business

Copyright ©2012 by Laurie Kay Olson

Colorado was a beautiful place, thought Shirley, but she ached for Minnesota in her heart. The summer had been so dry that her skin had been parched with the dryness. Autumn was gorgeous with quaking aspen trees, but hardly the lakes and forests of home. The year 1953 was starting to draw toward its close. Finally, at long last, it was snowing! A white Thanksgiving was on the way.
Life as a newlywed never seemed to live up to the hype everyone had insisted giving it. There was only so much cleaning to do in the tiny basement apartment. That strange purple sink did nothing to make doing dishes any more entertaining.  She sat by the window watching the flakes falling. For just a moment here it felt more like she was back home. Caesar was curled up in her lap, happy to find a warm spot and an ear scratch. It would be better once she found a regular teaching job. The apartment was very empty when Ken was away at work all day.
When the snow had reached an appropriate depth, Shirley leapt to her feet, unceremoniously dumping Caesar to the floor. In a flash she was buttoning up her plaid wool coat, wrapping a muffler around her neck, donning a hat, and pulling on thick gloves. There was something new and yet familiar to do. Snow was here!
 As she went outside, she grabbed the snow shovel by the door. There was a narrow sidewalk between their door and the street that they are responsible for shoveling. Shirley paused for a moment to gaze at the frosty path for a long moment. The homesickness that she had been feeling for the past couple of weeks abated somewhat. She breathed in a deep breath of air. There was a piney tang in it that was different from home, but a nice, clean touch. It was exhilarating.
She dug into the snow with a right good will. Before she was a half dozen shovelfuls down the walk she was sweating. She unwound the muffler and fanned the cold air toward herself. Another three shovelfuls and she took off her hat and dropped it in the snow. What on earth was happening? A moment later the muffler was discarded in the snow. Then she unbuttoned her coat. The gloves were next. When she got to the end of the sidewalk she turned and looked back. It didn’t look quite right. It looked . . . wet. Dang! It was melting already. No wonder she was so hot! She had bundled up for a Minnesota snow storm. With the dry air and warmer temperatures all she would have needed was a jacket and light gloves.
She leaned on the shovel and pushed at her bangs. They were damp with the perspiration of exertion. There was more to getting used to life in Colorado than she had expected. She turned her face to the sky and let the flakes fall gently on her skin. Definitely not like Minnesota. The tiny flakes barely produced any moisture as they melted.
With a sigh she walked back up the wet concrete path, picking up pieces of discarded clothing as she went. At least it was a story that she could entertain Ken with at dinner tonight. Perhaps by then she would feel more like laughing over it. For now all she wanted to do was curl up on the couch under the cat.
Suddenly a though occurred to her. What would her mother think if she found out that moving to Colorado had turned her into a stripper?  Okay, there was the laugh.

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