Finnegan’s First Snowman

I was very disappointed with the weather on the whole last winter, which was my first full one in PA.

Before I say more, let me tell you what kind of winter weather I typically like. I don’t care for cold weather; however, if it’s going to be cold, it may as well snow enough to be pretty. I have never wanted to see snow more than I did last year, and, man, it just didn’t happen.

Becky’s birthday is 2 December, and last year her mother bought her a set of classic Christmas TV specials on DVD. Among those was Frosty the Snowman, and Finnegan fell in love with that sucker. If I recall, it was the first time that he really took to a DVD like that, you know how they do it, full-time and all. I can’t imagine how many times that show played in our house over the next four or five months, bit it was easily over a hundred.

It stands to reason that Finnegan just couldn’t wait until we got the chance to build a Frosty of our own, and Beck and I were continuously promising him that we would do that, just as soon as the next good snow fell. Well, it didn’t. It just never happened. We had a lot of cold weather last winter and a lot of wind, but, after 2 December, we only got three inches of snow one time, and then it was too cold and the snow too powdery for thoughts of snowballs or snowmen.

I was kind of hoping that the wait was going to finally be over on Tuesday evening, but I wasn’t holding my breath. The weather forecasters were calling for snow in the evening, and the temperatures were supposed to stay in the mid to high-30s, so I knew there was a chance.

The snow was forecast to start somewhere around 7:00 pm, but we made it through our evening, which had us getting home somewhere in the neighborhood of 10:00 pm, and we were just beginning to see the first of it when we were five minutes or so from the house. Still, I could tell that it had good potential to really lay it on. It was coming down heavily and the temperature was still in the mid-30s.

We hadn’t been home ten minutes, and the world outside was white. Finnegan was all charged up, running to different windows to look out and to let us know, once again and if we hadn’t heard him before, that it was indeed snowing outside.

He was still dressed and charged all the way up–we’d cut down our Christmas tree earlier in the day, and we’d been to music class and to see Santa during the evening–and I figured the best way to get him closer to sleep was to burn off a little bit of his energy and give him a taste of the snow at the same time.

We didn’t originally go out to make a snowman or even do anything but walk around in the snow and make tracks through it and look at it. We live out beyond the full blanket of streetlights, so we have to have one in our yard, out near the barns. This lighting was perfect for illuminating the big, fluffy flakes, which we already highlighted by the still bright December night. We didn’t even have gloves on. Soon, however, we were out in the big part of the yard gathering snow together.

The snow just begged to be gathered together, which was evident by how it clumped off of the toes of each pair of boots. It wasn’t long before I was down on all fours raking a big pile together. Shortly after, Becky brought us each our gloves. She was still dressed in her winter version of a lounging around the house outfit, and she declined when I invited her to join us.

Now, Becky and I have this little joke that I was 17 when I was born, because there are many things common to young life that I’ve never done. Before Finn, I had seen almost none of the classic Disney movies; that’s a good example of which there are many.

Well, add build a snowman to that list. I literally don’t remember ever building a snowman. I recall a couple of snowmen when I was quite little, but I don’t have any recollection of having been in on the building process. Then, when I was older, I don’t recall any at all. Thus, I went about the process the hard way. I didn’t realize this until Becky told me on Wednesday.

Here’s how I went about it. I got out the snow shovel and plowed these long lines of snow into the pile. As far as accumulating snow goes, this was a very effective process; as far as rationally building a snowman, however, it kinda blew.

Still, with Becky’s help–yes, she finally got all suited up and in the game–we got ourselves a small snowman built. It probably stood about four feet.

We finally went in the house when Finn said he was cold, and, while my snowman-ignorant mechanical skills had kept us from making as good or as big a snowman as we would on Wednesday, we had still made Finnegan’s first snowman.


We went back out on Wednesday to fortify it, and it was then that Becky showed me the easier and more effective way to build a snowman, which you do, of course, by rolling snow into balls and stacking them on top of each other descending in size as you go up. I know, crazy, who would have ever thought of such a concept, no shovel or anything. That’s crazy talk, I’ll tell you.

We didn’t fortify the first snowman much, but we did build a second one using Becky’s new, space-age technique–it really is the future in snowman construction; we may even go public–and the second one is bigger and stronger. It isn’t as if that matters all that much; what really matters is that we all had fun each time, and we’ve got our first snowman story to tell.

2 Replies to “Finnegan’s First Snowman”

  1. Absolutely love how you reveal the heart of a father here. I could actually see you building the snowman in my head! Great stuff!

    1. Bradley, my brother. Man, great to see you here. I’ve been wanting to talk to you for some time. I finally read The Music Lesson, about six months ago. I absolutely loved it. If I ever get the time and cash, I’m gonna go down for one of Victor’s bass retreats. I don’t play bass, but I get the feeling he wouldn’t believe that. Thanks for the interest and the comment. You, Tara, Aaron, both families, the congregation, and your path are always in my prayers. More than that, I pray for more young families to make such a strong mark. Kudos!

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