Snowman 101


Snowman (Photo credit: stevegarfield)

  We are getting very little snow in my neck of the woods–in the Sun Parlour of Canada. My little town of Kingsville is the disputed “most southerly town in Canada”.

“Snowmen are a little flakey.”  – Unapologetically Stated by ‘One for the Obvious’

The feeling of nostalgia for something is often stronger and more affectionate than its reality. Case in point: our desire for snow. I think we are starved for snow as we have only had a whiff of it so far this winter. Last Friday was the coldest day of the winter so far and admittedly, we did have some snow. But a few days later, it is being melted by rain—the seemingly one constant we can depend on this winter.

The conclusion that our yearning for snow may be more than our actual desire is not borne out by an article in The Detroit Free Press on Saturday. Most of the front page of the Life section was devoted to a tutorial on building and picking out your “personal touches” for your “traditional Frosty”. Snowman 101 actually had twelve tips on how to bring Frosty to life in various creative and to my mind, some rather far-fetched ways.

A snowman is simple: three large round snowballs stacked upwards in descending size, a hat and scarf, a carrot, some stones, a few tree limbs, a corncob pipe and voila—a snowman. If you are making a snowlady just change up the hat and remove the pipe. Okay, maybe not so simple—where does one find a corncob pipe? And smoking of any kind is probably not politically correct—so lose the pipe.

The tutorial in snowman making could stop anyone in their tracks, and make them just want to lie down in the snow and make snow angels instead. First it suggests you have to check the weather. Apparently the “best weather for good snow consistency starts out sunny and then turns to shady and cold.” Yeah, right—when I was a kid, or even a mom making snowmen with my sons, I turned on the radio to make sure that first it was going to be sunny and then shady and  then cold—seriously, how would you do that? If there is snow and kids, a snowman is ripe for the making in my books.

The second step involves rolling out the snowman’s base—is this not an inherent talent? Were those of us raised in wintry climates not born with this talent?  Do we have to be told that a good base is two feet tall? Do we have to be told that the next section should be smaller in circumference? Really? I think they had to reach to depths unknown in journalism for this article by Megan Swoyer Garbinski. Perhaps she is a junior staffer just cutting her teeth, and her editor thought she could do little harm with this article.

Megan goes on to detail where to find buttons for the snowman’s eyes (your sewing box), what kind of branches to use for the arms (“lightweight, 2 foot branches with smaller branches at the ends for fingers”), mittens and a scarf to keep him warm (he is a snowman—if he is kept warm he is no longer a snowman, but a puddle). The piece de résistance is this whimsical suggestion: “pick up a couple of faux red cardinals at any craft store. One can be for the snowman’s hand and one to perch on his hat.” My question: why not make this step a little more creative? Just train a couple of cardinals to land on the snowman. Put some birdfeed in strategic spots and hope for the best.

Okay, Megan, you were given an assignment, and as a true trouper you came through. Perhaps someone visiting from Hawaii could use your training. But this last one is even a little too “creative” for most except the most inspired and resourceful: “Consider building a big six-foot block of snow…carve the snow away (like a relief) to show a showgirl ice skating with a scarf blowing.” Sure, what a lovely activity with your kids. A showgirl? Are you kidding me?

Well, Megan wrote a whole article about building a snowman or snow-showgirl, and I wrote a whole column debunking it. Is there something wrong with this picture? Well, don’t think about it too hard, but the next snowfall we get, get out there and make a snow family, and forget everything Megan said, except for this one little suggestion I found helpful: dig a little trough out of the top of the base for the middle snowball to rest on—making your snowman more stable. Now go out there and create your own snowman—cardinals or no. Just make sure it is not raining on your parade.

Published in: on January 24, 2012 at 4:05 pm  Comments (2)  
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