Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Arizona Snow, Part 2--Novelty

This post will seems so funny to most people around the world. Who hauls half a ton of snow ninety miles--just for a few hours of fun? That's insane!

That's what we did.

Most kids who live in the Valley of the Sun view snow like a mythical creature from the sky--they know it exists somewhere in the world, but they never see it and don't understand it. Snow is part of winter, right? Snow is cold, right? Snow builds snowmen and snowballs and melts when the sun comes out, right?

But they don't really understand cold and snow. How could they? The coldest it ever gets around here is just below 30* (only a few times a year--and of course that's overnight temps), and snow in the Valley is even more rare than sub-30 temps.

Brad had a truckload of chopped wood to take north with us on Saturday, and I had a brilliant idea on what to bring back home--
--half a ton of freshly fallen snow from Rim Country.

The snow was heavy, wet, and quickly melting, but I scooped as much as I could off the roof before it slid into piles around the cabin, which I also salvaged for the trip home. When we left a few hours later, the snow looked like it would make it to Mesa, but when it started to rain just south of Payson, my faith wavered. Would there be any left?

I shouldn't have worried.

Lily sent a cryptic message to her friends, inviting them to our house for a surprise (a few of them knew what was waiting, a few didn't). They arrived, dressed in typical AZ winter attire--tennis shoes and casual boots (some sockless), jeans, short sleeve shirts, and a few jackets. As they trickled in and discovered the bed of snow, I asked them, "Did you bring a coat? Or gloves?" They all looked at me like I was crazy. It was 50* outside. Why would they need that stuff? I let them look through my pile of snow gear, digging out too-small gloves and a jacket or two. Then the fun began.

Newsflash, AZ kids--snow is fun, but snow is  . . . cold.
Snowballs flew and shrieks of excitement echoed through our eternally green cul-de-sac. They laughed and chased each other, shoving snow down shirts and in faces, yelling in surprise when the snow moved down their backs and then down their pants. "IT WENT DOWN MY PANTS!" The shock in their voices made me giggle. That's what snow does.

It was more fun to watch than Christmas morning.
Thirty minutes into the adventure, I walked outside. Two of the boys walked up to me and said, "FEEL MY HANDS!!! They're FREEZING!" I had to laugh. Really? That's what snow does, guys! It makes you cold! I had to warn them NOT to run their hands under warm water in the kitchen--start it cold, then gradually warm it up as your hands thaw out. Isn't that weird that they have no idea how to warm up from the cold? As an Idaho girl, I found the whole evening fascinating.
After an hour of crazy snow play, they all shivered into the house for hot chocolate and popcorn, sitting in the kitchen with frozen hands wrapped around steamy mugs and recounting their snow night fun. Then . . . they went back out for round two.
This time they tried to construct a snow slide in the road and a small snowman on the mailbox. Slide was a fail, but they did succeed with the snowman.
Since the snow was so heavy, they all got soaked and cold and couldn't understand why it takes SO LONG to get warm after being cold like that. More hot chocolate, more laughter filling my kitchen.

Ironically, they wore out before they used all of the snow. Sunday morning there was still a bit left in the back of the truck.

I've been trying to think of an equivalent experience for snow-savvy kids. Is it swimming pools in every back yard? Is it wearing flip flops all summer so you don't burn blisters onto your feet? Is it gila monsters or saguaro cacti or citrus growing on trees? I can't think of a good one.

One thing I do know--they won't forget the night in December when there was snow in Mesa, AZ.


  1. Our family had a Christmas tradition of heading north for a truck load of snow sometime in December depending on the weather. Glen would get everyone up early, feed them breakfast in Payson, and then they would find a spot and fill the truck with snow. Once back in Mesa, it was a traveling snowball fight with the final stop being one of the younger cousins' houses where the snow landed in their front yard and they were helped with making a snowman. Your post today brought all those great memories back.

  2. As someone who lives in Connecticut I will tell you-when I first visited Florida and saw one of those little lizards I was super excited. I couldn't believe they just ran free and weren't someone's pet.

  3. So cool. Last year I was in Jackson Hole in June. At the top of the mountain it was snowing. We met a family from Florida whose children had never seen snow before - it was so much fun to see their joy at seeing snow. They had a snowball fight and made snow angels - it was a highlight of our trip.

  4. I have lived in upstate NY my whole life and the things you listed for snow savvy kids would freak me out. BUT its December 17 th and we do not have 1 drop of snow!

  5. I love that you guys did this. You make Christmas (and being a teenager) fun!


    PS. Posted this year's Christmas story on the blog…Have a merry one!