Snow Place Like Home
If you’ve ever lived in a part of the country where Ole Man Winter can wallop you with several inches or more of cold, wet, snow you know what it’s like trying to maintain a normal routine while bogged down with all that white stuff.
I can remember as a kid growing up in Michigan and the effort it took to get ready to go to school or just outside to play during winter. There were the ordinary layers of clothing, of course, necessitated by a father who kept turning down the thermostat. (“Electricity costs money; if you’re cold put on another sweater!”) To these add the snow suit (bulky pants and jacket), boots, muffler (wool scarf to those of you younger than thirty), a thick wool cap, and “idiot mittens” attached to a cord running around your neck and down both sleeves. By the time you finished gearing up for the cold you were lucky to be able to waddle out the door—sideways! We kids all looked like Ralphie’s little brother Randy in “A Christmas Story”; a bunch of fat little ticks resembling plump polka dots on a thick white blanket.
Anyway, whether as a kid tromping through the snow to school—Yes, some of us actually did walk to school—or just plain enjoying a stroll through it, you’ll recall the sound the snow made as it compacted underfoot: Scrunch. Scrunch. Scrunch.
Now, why am I conjuring up images of such winter delights in the middle of another summer heat wave? True, making snow angels may seem preferable to the current reality of sizzling like the devil in 100-plus degree heat but I do have a point. I’ve just discovered a sound to match that snowy scrunch, scrunch, scrunch.
The Night Stalker
Recently I had just returned from my middle-of-the-night sleep-walk to the bathroom when the cat decided to jump off the bed for some nocturnal prowling. Instead of heading downstairs, however, she decided to explore the dark recesses under the bed where I store extra blankets and pillows in some of those “space bags” advertised on TV. She hangs out there a lot (literally), having split the fabric covering the box spring in two places—one slit at either end—pulled out the wadding, and made hammocks where she spends much of her day sleeping suspended above the floor. (Apparently cats know a thing or two about cross-ventilation.) That night, though, she skipped the hammocks and began amusing herself crawling all over the “space bags” and creating that scrunchy snow sound. This went on for a couple of minutes despite my telling her to knock it off. “How cool!” she must have thought as she scrunched her way from one end of the bed to the other. Kind of like a kid popping bubble wrap, I suppose.
Eventually the noise stopped; whether she climbed into one of her hammocks or left the room, I don’t know. I was just grateful I was already awake when her pussyfooting began. It could have been pretty spooky waking up to that commotion and not knowing the cause. Childhood visions of the boogeyman come to mind. Or that by-now ominous sound could be the Abominable Snowman plodding through the snow—scrunch, scrunch, scrunch—coming to get me. Or . . . Oh, dear! Space bags! Think outer space! UFOs! Extra terrestrials! Could there really be really little green men scurrying around under my bed?
Thankfully, I don’t have to be afraid of such things going bump in the night. Except for the cat. At fourteen pounds she makes an impressive “Thud!” when she hits the floor. Besides, politicians and Lady Gaga give me nightmares as it is. I don’t need anything else creeping me out.
As for my shredded box spring, I’ve conceded it with its makeshift hammocks to the cat. I’m rethinking those “space bags”, however. Maybe I should just settle for a cardboard box in the attic. At least it would cut down on the noise.
© 2012 The Wit’s End Scribbler