Snowfall created and vast fun park for my brother, Ernest and me. He is two years older and like a burr under a horse saddle. Mama said, “Poison ivy will never bother that boy. I do declare he sugars his oatmeal with gun powder every morning” Demons seemed to dance in his brown eyes underneath a home crew-cut (hair-cut). A twisted hickory switch stayed within arm’s reach, but had little effect. Mama whipped Ernest like “pattin” for a dance. He had A.D.H.D..XYZ…plumb off the page, squirming like a maggot in hot ashes unable to be still.
One cold winter afternoon Mama began to discern weather signs. The chimney smoke settled close to the ground and the fire was making ”trompin” sounds like boots swishing deep snow. Raising a cup of water to her mouth, she said, “I can taste snow in th’ spring water. The stock was laying down this morning around the barn. Yes sir, a doozy of a snowstorm is a’comin’. If we can’t make it to the outhouse, we’ll just have to pee in the gun barrel and shoot it out the window.” We laughed as clouds gathered and excitement swelled. Sure enough that night, large snowflakes descended from heaven, covering our world with blankets of white purity. It settled on every branch, twig, and limb. Small noses withdrew from windowpanes in morning’s light to go gather snow from locust fence posts. We hoped Mama would make us delicious snow cream from the wells high above the earth. What excitement to chase snowflakes! I could feel the whiteness of nature’s breath as we caught flakes on the palm of our hands and tongue.
After a few rounds of snowball fights and a couple of snow angels, a glimpse of something pink caught my attention.
I drew near to investigate. To my horror, my only baby doll, “Nancy Louise”, the one Santa brought just a month ago was lying face down in the cold snow and NAKED! Quiekly, I grabbed the doll by bare feet. Her soft hair was now a crew cut! A full, black beard and mustache were drawn with a fire coal on her rosy face, I guess that was the first sex change to come to the mountains!
Ernest took refuge in the house, watching and snickering from the frosted window as he warmed by the fire. I entered the house flinging kindling corncobs from the porch at him. Ernest just laughed making bad matters worse. He said, “I hope she gets sick and dies!” In a fury I lunged into him, shoving him backwards, seating him squarely down on the blazing back stick in the fireplace. Sudden sounds of straight chairs crashed to the floor vibrated through the room as Dad and Sister Betty pulled Ernest to safety. Smoke from blazing britches filled the house. Luckily, he was wearing long johns and was not injured. Once the fire was extinguished on my brother, Dad started one on me.