Wherever there is snow, you can bet there will be a snowman. Maybe not in every yard, but in many of them. I’m not sure who first has the idea to make a snowman, but once it got started, it caught on quickly. Now it is simply a winter tradition, and if the littlest ones are too little, their parents will build it fir them or assist in building it if need be.
The building of the first snowman is unknown, but Bob Eckstein, author of The History of the Snowman documented snowmen back to medieval times. He researched paintings in European museums, art galleries, and libraries. The earliest documentation he found was a marginal illustration from a work titled Book of Hours from 1380, found in Koninklijke Bibliotheek, in The Hague. Who knew that snowmen went back that far.
When it comes to the tallest snowman, we would have to clarify the 122 feet 1 inch snowman, was actually a snow woman. She was built in 2008 in Bethel, Maine, and was named in honor of Olympia Snowe, a United States Senator representing the state of Maine. In 2015, a man from the Wisconsin was noted for making a large snowman 22 feet tall and with a base 12 feet wide. Still, the average snowman stands between three and six feet tall, because that is the height that the average builder takes the time to do. There are several ways to build a snowman, and in fact the styles can be very creative, or total disasters, depending on the abilities of the builder. Some people are even snowman artists. Their snowmen look like actual sculptures.
As kids, my sisters and I have built more snowmen than we can count. Some turned out great and others, not so much. I don’t recall seeing a lot of pictures of our snowmen, but we came across one of my sister, Cheryl Masterson building one that I’m sure our dad must have helped with. I suppose that milestones like building your first snowman didn’t exactly fall into place the same category as those first steps or high school graduation, but it is still a first. Unfortunately, like most of the lesser firsts, there isn’t usually as much documentation as the subsequent children come along. Or it could be that little firsts like snowmen just don’t seem all that important when you have multiple children. They are just another winter tradition.
As far as my nephew, Tucker is concerned, his big brother is the greatest friend ever. Riley is 11 years old and Tucker is 4 years old. To a little boy of 4, a brother who is all grown up like his big brother Riley…well, he is just the coolest person ever. Tucker and Riley live out in the country, and while Tucker has a couple of friends who live close enough to play sometimes and spend the night together once a week, Riley remains Tuckers closest friend and his hero big brother. And when Riley is staying at a friend’s house, Tucker really misses him a lot. It’s very hard for a little boy to understand why is big brother gets to go do so much, and he has to stay at home a lot more. He just wants to be big…like his brother. Seven years difference in age can make such a big difference in what is allowed and what isn’t.
When Riley is at home, he plays with Tucker quite a bit, so Tucker feels that loneliness a lot when Riley is away. And for a little guy, a weekend can easily seem like forever. I’m sure Tucker wonders why his brother doesn’t stay home with him more, but as we all know, the older a kid gets, the more friends they usually have, and they would much rather hang out with their friends than their little brother. Even if they do like playing with their little brother too.
But, when Riley is home, and it’s a snowy day…well that’s when the fun really begins. The boys get to go out side and do all the things boys really like on a snowy day. They could throw snowballs, or build a fort, or go for a sled ride, or build a snowman. It doesn’t really matter what they are doing, a snowy day is one of the best days for a kid, and for Tucker that kind of day is only made better by being able to spend it with his big brother, Riley.
Time will change things, of course, and Tucker will go to school and have more friends. He won’t always feel so lonely when his brother is playing with his own friends or at work, or college. Still, no matter where they are, or what they are doing, Riley will always be Tucker’s big brother, and…I think his hero too. There is just nothing like an older sibling who has been there for you. And someday, maybe Riley will look at Tucker, and think, “Hey, maybe you’re my hero too!”
As kids, we all thought snow was the coolest thing. We couldn’t wait for it to start so we could go out and play in it…provided it wasn’t a school day. If it was a school day, we all hoped that it would come down so hard that school would be cancelled. Funny how if you were in school and it snowed, you thought it was great fun to have indoor recess, but if school was out, you couldn’t wait to get outside to play. And it didn’t matter if it was early in the day or late at night, snow simply called for playing outside. It called out to you…”Come and build a snowman with me!!”
And once you got the snowman built…if you were blessed with a block full of kids, you were all set for a snowball fight. Of course, the first thing you needed to do is build a fort. You needed a place to hide from the incoming snowballs, because we all know what happens to that poor person who gets caught with out some form of cover. That person is really in a lot of trouble, because very soon, the snowballs are going to start flying, and they will not show mercy. It is nothing personal. It’s just the way the game is played. Survival of the fittest is the name of the game. Of course, it’s even more fun if that poor victim of the attack is your mom or aunt.
There were always so many ways to have fun in the snow when you were a kid. One of the most fun, of course, was throwing someone else in the snowbank…preferably a girl right. And when you get your three grandsons going against your only granddaughter…well, she is going in the snow. Even if she doesn’t want to mess up her hair and makeup, because she is going to the mall. Shai was a good sport when her cousins Chris and Josh, and her brother Caalab threw her in the snow, and rubbed snow in her face.
For kids, snow days are the best part of winter. Hoping for a day off from school to hang out with your friends and cut loose a little. And in my opinion, it’s just as well that we like snow when we are kids, because many of us really don’t later on. Maybe it’s the driving in it, or maybe we just get more thin skinned as we get older. My idea of a good thing to do on a snow day…sitting in front of a roaring fire with a cup of hot chocolate, and reading a good book on my Kindle. Oh yeah!! That’s what I’m talking about.