Keeping the tradition alive.
|"It's supposed to snow tonight," Henry grunted as he stacked wood near the stove. He pulled off his gloves and tossed them on top of the stack of timber before arching a brow at his wife.
"You gonna do it again?" he asked, flopping into an easy chair in front of the fire.
"Don't I every year?" Elizabeth grinned. She smacked the pie dough she was rolling out with her pin, sending a waft of flour up into the air. Pausing to peer out the kitchen window, she felt her anticipation grow.
"It won't be much longer, old buddy," she murmured. With a sigh, she turned back to her dough, carefully lifting it into a pan and filling it with sweetened apples.
"S'pose to get nine inches," Henry sniffed, pulling out a pipe. He took a pinch of tobacco and started stuffing the chamber of his pipe.
"That'll be perfect," she sighed, slipping the fluted pie into the oven. "But you know," she tapped her chin thoughtfully, "I think this year I'll wait until the grandkids get here. They're supposed to come visit this weekend."
Henry's brow wrinkled, "Are ya sure? They seem a mite young, yet..."
"I was Annie's age when I met him. Besides, what if somethin' happens to us? We need to make sure he survives and the grands can help."
"If'n ya say so," Henry shrugged, bringing the pipe to his lips.
* * *
"Put down your phones, dears, we're going outside," Elizabeth commanded. Tugging a stocking hat over her gray hair, she grinned at the two children as they rolled their eyes and dropped their cells.
"Aw, Nana! Do we hafta?" Annie whined, "I was just texting Bella to let her know that--"
"No arguing," Elizabeth tossed a hat in each of their laps before planting her hands on her wide hips. She raised an expectant eyebrow, "I'm waiting..."
With a grumble, Thomas yanked his hat over his unruly hair. Annie stood and accepted a pair of gloves from Elizabeth's outstretched hand.
"Don't forget your coats," Elizabeth grinned, slipping on her boots and opening the door to a world covered in white.
"Now what?" Thomas groused, kicking snow at Annie.
"Watch it, brat!" Annie squawked.
Elizabeth sighed and closed her eyes. Counting to ten, she slowly opened them again and fixed her best "grandma" gaze on the two.
"It's time to work together now, my dears. Thomas, since you're gettin' to be such a strong boy I want you to roll me a big ball of snow. It'll be the base."
"Base for what?" Annie asked suspiciously, ignoring Thomas as he stuck his tongue out at her.
"Why, for our snowman," Elizabeth laughed, "I'll do the middle and you can have the honor of making his head, Annie."
"A snowman?" Annie's voice dripped with disgust, "Nana, snowmen are for babies."
"Hey!" Thomas yelped, "I think making a snowman is a neat idea."
"Exactly my point," Annie said, rolling her eyes.
Elizabeth held up a gloved hand, "Enough! Annie, humor your old Nana and help us with the snowman. And no more bickering!"
They worked in silence after that, making their balls of snow bigger and bigger. Their breath blew out in frozen puffs and their noses turned red as they assembled the winter creature.
"He needs a face," Thomas complained, poking the snowman's bare head with gloved finger, "And some arms."
"Well, then," Elizabeth's eyes twinkled, "Go find a face for him. And Annie, you can grab a scarf from my closet for him. I'll get the hat."
As Annie and Elizabeth crunched back to the snowman, scarf and hat in hand, Thomas was pushing two pieces of coal and a button into the snow, creating a face. Annie carefully wrapped a scarf around the snowman's neck while Thomas shoved in a couple of sticks for arms.
"And now the finishing touch," Elizabeth whispered, gently setting the top hat on the snowman's head.
The snowman moved. It's wooden arms stretched to the sky and it's coal eyes flashed.
Annie and Thomas gasped and jumped back in surprise and fear.
"No worries, my dears," she grinned at the snowman and then at the children, "I'd like you both to meet Frosty. My grandmother, mother, and I have brought him to life every winter. And now it's your turn to keep the tradition alive."
Annie and Thomas took a tentative step closer.
Frosty bowed, "Happy Birthday!"