I can’t Christmas shop if I’m wearing flip flops and driving around with the air conditioning on in the car. Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” loses its appeal when Ned Perme reports the county is under a burn ban.
Ah, the juxtaposition of the idealized crisp, cold Christmas and Arkansas’ warm winters. As a child I don’t remember it being balmy during the winter.
One cold, wintry pre-Christmas night Older Brother broke curfew while courting his future wife;drunk on love he failed to notice a heavy snow.
Drunk on love or not he grew sober instantly when his girlfriend’s father dismissed him with a stern warning, “Boy, you need to go home.”
OB, a true brain trust, chose as his shortcut home, a country road unpaved and featuring hills like a roller coaster with wash board pot holes, five miles from home and on a night unfit for man nor beast. Our old faithful Chevrolet suddenly developed a flat tire and OB was forced to walk to a nearby house to call in the cavalry; Daddy.
Daddy threw on a coat and climbed into his work truck bent on returning his tardy son home to his agitated mother.
Mama and I expected the male members of our tribe to return within 30 minutes but, as the snow fell faster, our mantle clock seemed to slow down.
After approximately 90 minutes Mama began to pace and by 1 a.m. she was worried.
“Where is your Daddy,” she asked looking out the window as the snow began to mound over her fall mums. “You stay here Suzy and answer the phone in case they call. I’m going out to the pump house and turn on the heat lamp. I don’t want the pump to freeze.”
Mama slipped on Daddy’s work boots and tromped out the back door breaking a trail through the beautiful white snow.
Mama, the essence of a country girl’s haute couture wearing work boots, a pink chenille robe with her hair wrapped in toilet paper and a pink satin hair net, said  “It’s freezing outside,” as she kicked off the boots and ran barefoot to warm her backside at the fireplace. “Something’s happened. If they aren’t home by 2 a.m. I’m calling the sheriff.”
We heard them before we saw them. “Hey Mama,” it was OB, he was yelling at the top of his lungs. “Mama, it’s your bad little boy and I’ve come home.”
“Be quiet boy, I’ve had enough of you for one evening,” Daddy was grumbling and grumbling loudly. Daddy never yelled in anger but his decibel level was rising.
They threw open the door trying to enter at the same time. “Boy, respect your elders.”
Daddy passed through the door and down the hall in a flash. Peeling off his gloves he turned to face us and there were little icicles hanging from his eyebrows, his hair and both he and his prodigal were layered in snow.
Instantly Mama recognized her guys were safe. She turned on OB, “What in the hell were you thinking?” Mama droned on while OB grinned.
Looking at Daddy she asked one question, “What happened?”
While Daddy drank his cup of hours old cocoa he explained. After picking up OB they started home, sliding into a ditch three miles from home and elected to walk home. Daddy and OB were unaware how much snow would fall and the dip in the temperature. OB who, like his mother was warming his backside, grinned up at Daddy, “It was an adventure, wasn’t it Clovis?”
Oh for cold, snowy, winter nights and the warm memories they create. An author I know titled his book, “Perfect in Memory,” and memories are perfect for they imprint us with something on which to build The Sweet Life.