My mother served me snow for supper.
I know you think this a lark.
But no, I’m not fibbing,
Neither am I ribbing,
Read on and you’ll be out of the dark.
I grew up in Regina, Saskatchewan which meant long winters, tonnes of snow, and playing joyfully outside for hours in the white, powdery softness. There were so many things to do with snow – make snowmen, have snowball fights (back then kids were allowed to learn how to play together without constant adult supervision) – but I digress…We would make snow angels and forts, slide down, or jump excitedly from the roof of the shed onto mountains of snow, or make delicious snow pies.
The only reason we would go inside, begrudgingly I might add, was to relieve ourselves. And sometimes we didn’t quite make it because there were just too many layers of clothing to peel off.
My sisters and I and the neighbourhood kids would spend an eternity trudging through hip-deep snow, all the way to the other side of the yard to find a mound of fresh, clean, sparklingness to eat…YES, TO EAT. Anyone reading this who is not from a snow-laden country might be “eeewwwing’ right now, but those of us from the cold depths of northern abodes are most likely reminiscing about the childhood undertaking of eating snow.
I personally ate so much snow that my mother served it to me for supper one day. Oh, I remember that supper distinctly. I came into the house at her beckoning, ruddy of cheek and empty of belly. At my place at the table was a brown saucer filled with snow. I was aghast.
“What is this?”, I queried?
“It’s your supper”, my mother flatly responded.
“What do you mean?”, I asked dumbfounded.
“Well, you eat so much snow that I thought you’d prefer to have it for supper too”, she chimed.
I was very upset. In fact, I recall sitting there pouting for quite some time…..as the snow melted. You see, in my child’s mind, eating snow was the scrumptious delight of sensing the snow on the taste buds. It could be so cold that it made my lips numb, so crunchy that chewing it filled my head with a snowflake symphony, so sticky that it made my teeth struggle to separate from the frozen delectableness, or so delicate that if not eaten with tenderness and gratitude, it could disappear instantly without a trace.
Snow was divine and to be treated with reverence. At that dinner moment, I was humiliated. I know my mother was trying to teach me a lesson not to eat snow because it was dirty, but I was hurt because the sheer enjoyment of eating snow had suddenly become something bad. Snow was dirty? It fell from the heavens. How could this be so?
I was eventually permitted to empty the saucer and eat what everyone else was eating, but the innocent, youthful act of eating snow, forever became an addition to the long list of things we are, for some reason, told are wrong. From parents, teachers and others in authority, a lifetime of “DON’TS” rings in my ears. “Don’t eat snow, it is dirty.” “Don’t play with your food, it is meant to be eaten.” “Don’t suck on your hair.” “Don’t daydream.” “Don’t touch the student lined up in front of you. We keep our hands to ourselves.” “Don’t look at someone else’s answer, that’s cheating.” “Don’t hug in public.” “Don’t make noise at church.” “Don’t act like that, it’s not lady-like.” “Don’t disobey your parents.” “Don’t marry outside your race.” “Don’t challenge the status quo.” “DON’T MAKE ANY MISTAKES!” “Don’t, Don’t, Don’t, Don’t, Don’t”
Fifty years after eating the snow, I am still haunted.
The following is my response and my liberation…..
by Nadine Hatzitolios McGill
© 2018 by Hatz Off Group