Cold! Snow! Freezing Rain! "And you didn't expect it?" Sam chuckled revealing a familiar sparkle in his sky-blue eyes. "We live in Canada, ya know."
Gaby sighed. The inevitable had arrived. Of course she knew winter would eventually come. There had been enough voices sending out their call to the universe. The wish fulfillment of the Bing Crosby song for a white Christmas had at last been granted. It finally snowed. Although the roads had been horrid, on that day the required trip to the city for the festive family dinner had been accomplished. However, immediately afterwards there came a kind reprieve. A recurring thaw continued off and on. Had another set of voices created a retraction? "Let's not have winter in our part of the country this year."
It wasn't that she had always hated the season. When she was young, Gaby had awaited the first snowfall with naive anticipation. What magic the mesmerizing invasion of snowflakes evoked, falling from somewhere far above, landing and melting onto your protruding tongue. And that initial neighbourhood snowball fight was beyond exhilarating! It was only surpassed by her brother Peter's decision to start rolling his last clump of soft packing snow right into the middle of what had been their front lawn. They had all cheered him on as he transformed it into a massive solid base. Then as if on cue Gaby remembered starting to roll a second ball and her friend Nessa the third. Shrubs were raided for branches and berries to become arms and eyes and a mouth. Robert had offered up his tuque, Marlie her scarf. For days following, Alfred the snowman had stood solid, a beacon of their accomplishment. In those days snow had been a welcome sight.
Not now. She was much older and perhaps even wiser. In between the snow, the unpredictable rise and fall in temperature had threatened freezing rain. No matter how positive she considered herself to be, memories of 1998 came flashing back. Some spoke of that time with fond nostalgia; but for most, it called to mind sombre apprehension. Freezing rain for Gaby meant a slippery deck and steps and driveway. Though well prepared for the inclement elements with sufficient salt, winter tires and windshield wipers, the periodic blinking skid-indicator on her dashboard became a dreaded reminder of road conditions and what lay ahead.
"How many more weeks?" she begged of Sam. "As long as it takes," he teased. "Don't ya know we live in Canada."