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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Family · #1388147
The language of winter, cheesehead style
“Grandpa, is this white stuff all snow?”

“Hmmpf, that’s what it is all right.”

“What do you call this kind?”

“Call it? We call it snow, what do you think we call it? Goddam strap! How am I supposed to fasten this thing? Five years old and I gotta fit you into some baby seat, I don’t think so. Least ways you get a good view from up there. Your grandma told me you need this goddam contraption in the truck or the stewardess wouldn’t hand you over but that stewardess wasn’t even… You have no idea what I’m talking about, do you?”

“We don’t gots any snow at home.”

“Well a-course you don’t, there’s no snow in Texas. Heck, you never seen snow even once, have you? Don’t worry, Grandpa’s arranged it so there’s plenty of snow in Wisconsin this year. Record year already, and it ain’t even Valentine’s Day. We got snow up the ying-yang up at the farm.”

“Do you just call it all snow?”

“Ha! There she blows, damn truck didn’t want to start for a minute there. The old gal don’t like it, it gets below ten degrees. What’s that you’re saying now?

“Do you call it all snow or does it have other names besides?”

“Why you asking me that?”

“My teacher says the eskimos have 236 words for snow. But I told her where me grandma and grandpa live it rains snow too, and I bet they have lots of names for it.”

“Wellsir, guess I ain’t gonna be outdone by no eskimo. Let’s see, the stuff on the road all mushed up with sand, that’s brown sugar snow.”

“Does it taste like brown sugar?”

“No it don’t, not even close, so don’t you go eating any. We got powder snow, that’s the kind good for snow cones. Grandma will whip one up for you soon’s we get to the farm. The sweetest eatin’ snow’s from atop Grandma’s vegetable patch.”

“Is that black snow over there?”

“By the parking booth up ahead? That’s black ice there. Most slippery stuff in the universe. That’s why Grandpa’s truck’s gonna drive real slow here for us to pay the man. Another kind of snow you don’t want to go eating is yellow snow.”

“Why’s it yellow?”

“Because the dog peed in it, that’s why.”

“Eww, I won’t eat that! That’s nasty!”

“Now see that snow on them fir trees by the side of the highway? That’s Christmas card snow they got on them. And if it blows around way up in the air we call it angel snow.”

“It’s pretty.”

“Now look over there. See the way it’s swooshing around atop Halvorsen’s pond? That’s a pond ghost.”

“How many kinds is that?”

“Well I don’t know, but it ain’t no two hundred and whatever. We’ll be getting to the farm in just a minute and Grandpa’s just getting started. Now those little round ones over there we call snow meatballs.”


“Uh-huh. Look just like the Swedish meatballs your grandma’s cooking up for supper. Then the big lumps here where the road turns off are snow – no, frozen bears, and the really big ones the plow leaves are frozen spaceships.”

“Frozen spaceships! Grandpa, do you really call them all those things or are you just making it up?”

“Making it up! A-course I ain’t making things up, ya little fartblossom! Would I make things up just to outdo some old eskimo?”

“Wow, that’s really a lots of snow ahead.”

“Son of a bitch! Damn snowplow driver made a big mess in front of my driveway. Want to watch Grandpa do a donut in it?”

“A snow donut? All right!”

“Hang on tight now.”

“Is that a deer?”

“Holy Great Mother of Judas Priest on a Sidecar!”

“That was fun!”

“Are you okay, boy?”

“Look Grandpa, we runded into the big pile of snow and we didn’t even get hurt.”

“Uff da! That’s a blessing. But the truck’s stuck. Come on out, we’re going to have to walk. I’ll bring the sled back for your suitcase.”



“That Mother of Judas Priest one, is that another kind of snow?”

“Sure is, boy. Lived here all my life, but I’m still learning new words for snow.”

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