What Does Mississippi Avenue, Fort Master, and The Game Have in Common? Some of Our Fondest Snow Memories

Snow Memories

Here's to Dads! Start of the Trail

By Jessica Norwood, Molly Schroeder, and Ronnie Coyle Dads. They're great for laughs, learning, and often puns. June is wrapping up and it's a great month to celebrate all father figures! All three authors at Start of the Trail were busy celebrating Father's Day a few weeks ago. We thought it would great to share the memories we have of the dads in our lives. Did you know that Father's Day was not a nationwide holiday until 1972? I did not know this until recently. Enjoy our Father's Day edition of the blog with some special guest contributors on the podcast. https://startofthetrail.com/2021/06/29/heres-to-dads/ — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/startofthetrail/message
  1. Here's to Dads!
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  3. Me-er than Me
  4. How To Be The Perfect Wedding Guest
  5. Thank You, Mom!

Every month, Jessica, Molly, and I will bring you a collaborative blog post. We will brainstorm ideas we each can write about. Then we will bring those stories together for our fourth post of the month. Our post this month is ‘snow’ much fun! Yes, as the title alludes to, we share some of our fondest snow memories. It’s snow joke. Okay, enough snow puns, it’s snow laughing matter. Ahh, it continues to snowball.

Jessica, take us away with your story.

Jessica Norwood

As an adult, I love the first snowfall that sticks to the ground. After that I am over it! But as a kid every snowfall is a new adventure. Fresh snow covers the tracks of our previous adventures, allowing us to start again.

We had a long narrow backyard in our little town. Just outside the backdoor was our swingset. A large pine tree stood in the middle of the yard with a smaller maple toward the back. For years my brother, sister and I saw it as our own city. Every snowfall we would create roads that spanned from the front yard to the back. Decked out in snow gear, we would crawl to carve out the paths. The backside of the swing set had our only two-laned road. Building each road required a train of the three of us to pack down the snow and create our city. Year after year we created these roads and they all had names (you have to have an address to send party invites!). The only name I remember now is Mississippi Avenue. It spanned from the back door, around the side of the house to the sidewalk in the front, finally looping back and connecting with our two-laned road. Mississippi Avenue was always the first one built. Like any city, we had businesses and houses. It was always an argument on who got to build under the pine tree. It was the only sheltered spot sure to withstand any future storms. Everything about creating something in the snow fascinated me.

This past weekend we virtually celebrated my mother’s birthday. I asked how much they remember about our snow city. They didn’t remember as much detail as I did, but we all had memories of it. They remembered carving out beds and pillows in their snow home. I am the oldest and was nine-ish when we started our annual snow city. That’s probably why I have more memory of it than they do. Heck it was most likely my idea forced upon my siblings, as I am your stereotypical oldest child.

They remembered one of my other favorite memories…Dad building a sledding hill in the yard. He would pack the snow with a metal shovel and carve steps in the back so we could walk up to the top. We then hopped on our sleds, and flew across the yard toward the house. I remember the time it took him to pack down the snow and level the steps. Each trip down the slide would get us closer to the house. After a few days the hill had a nice glaze over it and we would FLY! So many fun times in the snow, and the memories are so vivid.

While I’m not as fond of snow as I once was, the memories come flooding back the moment I step foot in the snow with my own kids. Last year I tried to explain to my then nine-year-old the fun we had building a city. He looked at me and ran to get a shovel. “Why crawl when you have a shovel, Mom?” He thought I was crazy. It’s fun to watch them play and have their own creative adventures in the snow. I hope one day they reminisce of their memories in the snow.

So much fun, Jessica. Thanks for going frost, I mean first. Alright Molly, your next.

Molly Schroeder

Snow is magical. The fresh glittery powder covering everything transports me to a winter wonderland from long ago. I remember bundling up in my bulky snow pants, jacket, and heavy boots before I was allowed to venture outside to play in the snow. After a fresh snowfall, my brother and I would create our own snow castles. While he would make his castle out of snow chunks and giant snowballs, I went with the resourceful option of hiding under the weighted down snow-covered tree limbs. The limbs were so heavy with snow, they touched the ground. A natural lean-to. I only had to create a small fortress wall in front of me, while my back was blocked by the tree. After our snow castle masterpieces were finished, we would run inside to gather our “paint,” which was simply food coloring and water. We would use old ketchup bottles or syrup containers to squeeze the colors onto the snow. I was always deep in decorating when the first snowball would fly. I normally lost the snowball fight with my castle being destroyed or gave up by surrendering the title of “fort master” to my brother.  After my defeat, my brother would go inside to play games or watch TV. 

Being left alone in the snow was my favorite. I would go back to my wintery castle after my defeat and do a little rearranging to be comfortable enough to lay down and listen to the magic. I would hear the swaying of the trees, birds calling to one another, the wind rustling the snow, and just enjoy the silence. I let nature consume me. Linger in my ears and whisper to my young soul. I would always lose track of time and snap out of it when I just couldn’t feel my toes anymore or my mom called me inside. 

Those small childhood moments with my brother and nature have left an impression on me. When I drive past kids playing in the snow, it’s not hard to remember those days. I have a hard time sitting still these days and don’t spend enough time laying in the snow and letting the snow magic consume me. Instead, I’m hiking the state park trails with my boyfriend and our dog. Being outside is my natural medication meditation and leaves me feeling centered and refreshed. 

When I watch the snowfall I can transport back to my magical snowy castle under the trees. In a world where we are always in front of a screen, the quiet moments outside are appreciated even more. 

What great memories, Molly. Even if you didn’t get fort master, I would have given you ‘Best in Snow’. I have puns for days and the snuggle is real. Ah, there is snow way out. Ok, on to my snow stories.

Ronnie Coyle

I didn’t grow up in Wisconsin, yet living in this beautiful state the past 18 years has given me plenty to enjoy…and moan about…when it comes to snow. The wintery snow memories during this time have been about my family and the enjoyment my boys have had playing in it. Watching them make forts, throw snowballs, and the occasional wipeout while running around. We are not much for winter activities, but we love the first snowfall and as Molly mentioned, the magical transformation our home undergoes. For the memories I want to share though, I go back to my late teen years. Two stories. One my junior year in high school. The other my sophomore or junior year in college.

The first memory came at a time when smartphones didn’t exist. The bummer, of course, is you couldn’t capture every moment like we do now. We don’t have selfies from every occasion. While my memory doesn’t always serve me well, some things are unforgettable such as the Snow Game. 

My first snow story occurred in the fall of 1993. I remember the day well because it was the first and only football game I played in the snow. It didn’t snow during football season in Oklahoma. The game, Skiatook Bulldogs versus the Bristow Pirates. Our mediocre Dawgs against a 4A top 5 opponent. We had our work cut out for us, not to mention playing in snow and wondering if I had enough warm clothes. I remember scrambling to find clothes that would work under my football gear. Did I have any long spandex? Nope. Did I have a warm athletic top? No. Did I have hand warmers? No way. Off to our local stores. And by local stores, I mean Walmart. Our small town of 5,000 residents didn’t have much and there wasn’t enough time to run to Owasso or Tulsa. I did end up finding gloves, spandex leggings, hand warmers, and a long shirt that would suffice. Check, check, check, and check. Let’s play some football. Time to take on the #4 team in the state. We played, we had fun, we stayed warm enough. Oh, and the other reason I remember this day, we won. We beat the #4 team 35 to 34. That was a huge confidence boost. It also set a precedent for our team going into the following year when we finished the season ranked #2 in state.

My other memory happened during college. A short and quick story, but it was a fun memory. As I mentioned before, we didn’t get a lot of snow in Oklahoma. There are other states that don’t even get snow, or it is rare. At the time I was living in a fraternity house at Oklahoma State University with my Brothers. They came from different towns in Oklahoma, as well as different states. One in particular, my Brother Jake, came from California. One of our days in the house we got a decent snow, likely a couple of inches. Jake had never been in the snow before. You would have thought he was a 6 year old. He played and played, made snow angels, and threw snowballs. It was such a fun moment to see someone enjoy snow so much. And we were college students. An enjoyable moment for sure.

Ronnie Coyle during a rare snow day in Oklahoma (January, 2000). Theta Pond is in the background, located on Oklahoma State University’s campus in Stillwater, OK.

This concludes our snow stories. If you have your own, or remember one of these, please share your story too. We would love to hear about them.

To make sure you don’t miss a new article, could you do us a favor? 

First, go to the bottom of the Home page and Subscribe to receive email updates when we publish.

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Until next time, take care, be safe and have an ice day! This is Ronnie Coyle

2 thoughts on “What Does Mississippi Avenue, Fort Master, and The Game Have in Common? Some of Our Fondest Snow Memories

  1. HI RJ!
    Loved hearing your stories!

    Some of my all time favorite memories with snow happened mostly in Idaho. Tubing down the sand dunes with our Hurd family who lived in Weiser. So much fun, till the last layers of our clothing got wet and our skin started to FREEZE, LITERALLY! Lol


    1. Deana, thank you! Thanks for checking them out. As kids the cold doesn’t seem to deter us much, right? I remember very little about the Idaho days, such as taking grandma to the airport. I might have to brush up on my history 😉 – Ronnie


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