Monday, February 21, 2011

Snow Day

It's time for another writing prompt from The Red Dress Club. Only this one isn't fiction. Tuesday is all about memoir. Which means, this is a true story.

The sun was bright in that deceptive way that makes it look much warmer outside than it really is.

A yellow scarf was wound carefully around my neck. I tugged at it with a mittened hand, unaccustomed to such trappings. The matching wool cap made my forehead itch, but pulling it off made my unprotected ears too cold. I kept it on.

We left the truck parked beside the road and hiked up a small hill, my six-year-old feet sinking into the several inches of fresh snow that had fallen the night before. Dad proclaimed it the perfect place and gently lobbed a snowball in my direction. It landed on my shoulder and I giggled as I tried to match his ability in the craft and toss of a perfect snowball.

My mother and little brother were supposed to be there, but they were home with the flu. So it was just me and my dad. All day in the mountains, playing and laughing and freezing.

I had to go to the bathroom. Immediately. We found a restaurant that had a bathroom out back. There was a sign on the Women's Room door and though I could read "Out of Order" I didn't know what that meant. Dad told me I'd have to use the boys' bathroom and I panicked.

"That's not allowed!" I said. "Won't I go to jail?"

He grinned at my childish fear and assured me that I would not, in fact, go to jail if I used the boys' bathroom. He also cautioned me not to make a habit of it. It was an unnecessary warning. I've never used the men's room again.

There was lunch and sledding and a lot of stumbling, but mostly laughter.

Over the years, my relationship with my father grew distant. Strained. There was less laughter and more fighting. And every time I started to believe that he'd never really loved me, I thought back to that day in the snow. A day when it was just me and him. A perfect day when I was the only one that mattered.

Things between us are better now. I've grown up and so has he. It isn't perfect, but there are moments now when I remember what it felt like to be that giggling little girl.


Anonymous said...

Perfect line - I've grown up and so has he. I don't think we ever realize that our parents may not have known what they were doing when we were kids. I enjoyed the imagery of the scarf and the hat - my forehead is all itchy now!!! Thanks you for sharing such a special memory.

Erin said...

What a wonderful memory. It sounds like so much fun! I hope that memory never fades!

Jennee said...

You made me giggle. You always make me giggle. Good memory.

Shell said...

I had to laugh at you thinking you'd go to jail for using the men's restroom!

Jack said...

You made me smile with this. My daughter has fought me about using the Men's room.

She is 6.5 so there have been more than a few occasions when this has taken place.

I like the image of the yellow scarf.

injaynesworld said...

What a lovely memory beautifully expressed. I think your father might love to read it.

kate hopper said...

Karen, this is a lovely memory you've captured for us. And I love that when you needed to, you could go back to this day and be reassured in your dad's love. Lovely!

Cheryl said...

I love that you have that memory to go back to. And I'm glad you didn't get arrested for using the boys bathroom!

Nichole said...

What a lovely memory.
You capture something that unites all of us, the desire to be the center of someone's world.

lydia said...

I'm happy that ya'll had this before your relationship grew strained nd I'm really happy that you and he are closer again now. The asking if you'd be arrested for using the men's restroom was really funny, it's sounds like what my oldest would say in the same situation.

Sluiter Nation said...

This is so beautiful. I always wonder when we lose the childhood innocence and see our parents as adults.

Also? he he he...boys bathroom :)

CDG said...

I love the playful warning not to make a habit of using the men's room.

The other thing that grabbed me was the itchy forehead and the wool hat. I know exactly the feeling, and the trade-off for warm ears.

Mrsbear said...

My son hates when I make him come inside the ladies room.

This is a sweet memory, carefully kept and wonderfully told. Sad that it's such a contrast to your relationship later, but a nice moment between you.

Leslie said...

Such a sweet story! I can totally picture a little girl in a scarf and hat and I can remember how that felt. You've described it very vividly and I enjoyed read this and thinking about my own small moments with my Dad.