It’s Christmas time all over the world, and we are going to get our first snowfall tonight and tomorrow here in Vancouver! I love when it snows at Christmas time, but I love it even more here in Vancouver because we get so little of it during the winter and when it does come, it doesn’t stick around long. Apparently, if you believe the meteorologists, tonight and tomorrow’s snowfall will accumulate to around 8 to 12 cm, and then be gone sometime on Saturday. Actually, I’d be fine if it stuck around until Christmas Day, and then disappeared on Boxing Day so we would have snow over Christmas.
About 5 years ago now, a certain tradition was born here in our neighbourhood. One evening a couple of weeks before Christmas, and probably after what I think was a couple of eggnog’s, my friend Ross and I were discussing Christmas time and lights and the over use of them, especially if they were distasteful. I can’t stand when anybody puts up their Christmas lights and nothing is hanging straight. Or because they have been left out all year in all kinds of weather they are faded replica’s of their former selves. I hate that. Now, I am rather well known in our community as having some of the best house lights around, at least in our gated townhouse complex. But as Ross and I were talking that fateful evening, it came out during our conversation how much I abhor the inflatables that seem to rise up out of the earth every time at Christmas, their fans whirring away as they keep their inflatable bodies pumped up with air, and their lights blazing away and lighting the way home for their owners from literally blocks away. As I said previously, the conversation between Ross and I took place on a weekend just before Christmas as I recall, and I guess that I may have been a little overzealous in expressing my distaste for what I considered to be these abominations that they call Christmas decorations. Well, back then my business travel was about 14 room nights a month out of 20 working days, so I was on the road most of the time as I managed my distributor network here in Western Canada. The next day being a Monday was no different from the start of most other weeks as I know I was flying off to Saskatchewan for 3 days to enjoy some balmy -30 degree C weather and call on my distributors there. If I could only stay warm!
So the next morning, I trundled off to the airport, my head full of the business that I had to conduct while in Saskatchewan, wearing my heaviest winter coat with multiple layers to keep me warm in the -30 degree C weather they were experiencing there. I made it to Saskatchewan OK, and while I was away, I kept hearing reports of snow that was expected in Vancouver on the day that I was to return home. I knew that with the type of snow we usually get I would have an unusual challenging drive home from the airport in the snow amongst all the Vancouver drivers that believe that all season tires are just fine in the heavy wet moisture laden snow that falls when it does snow here. I managed to get my business done in balmy Saskatchewan (brrrr) in record time, and got out of there as planned a couple of days later on the Wednesday. We landed safely, and I steeled myself for the normally 20 minute drive home from the airport that I knew would take me at least triple that with the snow that was expected. As I got closer and closer to home, the snow that had started to fall heavily just as I was getting my car at the airport was now accumulating quickly and making it hard to see the road ahead. I managed to make it into the gate, and began the short climb up the slight rise towards our home, eyes narrowed almost shut as I tried to make out the sides of the roadway so as not to pay an unexpected and uninvited visit to any of my neighbours with the front of my car suddenly finding itself under their tree in their living room.
As I neared the top of the short rise to our house, I could just make out through the falling snow and see that Brenda had left the light on the front porch, probably to help guide me home in the snow. Although, it was still the middle of the afternoon and our front porch light is not normally that bright. Or is it? As I made it closer and closer to the house, I could barely make out a round shape ahead that was somewhat camouflaged by the falling snow, and the light seemed to be emanating from this unusual round white shape that was now coming clearly into view. Crap! Somebody had actually set up one of those hated inflatable snowmen in front of our house! Ross! How dare he!
Well, as it happens, one of the companies that Ross used to own was a rep company that specialized in Christmas lights and decorations. I’ve always known this about Ross and I knew this prior to our conversation on inflatables, but never in a million years did I even dream that in his crawlspace under the house where he kept many of his old samples from his rep days that there would be any of the hated inflatables. Actually, that little bit of snow that I was experiencing on my drive in from the airport on that day, turned into this next picture. My vantage point for this picture is actually standing exactly where I was when I was beside the snowman a day later, but looking down the driveway back at the way that I would have come on my drive home. We had a ton of snow dumped on us that year!
Anyway, that year a new tradition was born, thanks to Ross. Every year since that fateful visit that he made to our house, “Frosty” usually appears at a different home in our neighbourhood. Suddenly, one evening, in the dark and under cover of night, two unnamed people go about the business of setting him up someplace on a neighbours front yard, in order to grace them with his presence and to show the rest of the neighbours what the true definition of tacky really is when it comes to the attack of an inflatable snowman. Frosty has appeared on front lawns, and even on a neighbour’s rooftop one year. Most people love him, and I must admit he has grown on me after all these years as well. Most neighbours are good sports, but there was one unnamed household in our complex last year that didn’t want to play by the rules. When they were the lucky recipients of Frosty last year, they politely laughed, enjoyed him for one evening, and then carefully unplugged him and folded him up and placed him on back on my doorstep the next morning. That necessitated Ross and I to draw up “The Rules of the Snowman”. These rules are now part of the standard package when Frosty pays his annual visit, and we ensure that the rules are taped to the door after he is set up and the doorbell rung to inform the lucky neighbour of their good fortune in having been chosen to host Frosty that particular Christmas.
This year, we weren’t going to set up Frosty. Brenda and I have been far too busy with other things this year, and Ross and I didn’t get him up at the beginning of December like he usually is every year. We figured that he could use a holiday in 2013, but after Ross and I discussed it the other night, we decided what the heck, let’s get him out and set him up, even if he is only going to be up for a couple of weeks or so until the 2nd of January. Earlier this evening, Ross and I carefully unpacked Frosty, and under cover of night we cautiously set him up at the home of one of the neighbours. We taped The Rules of the Snowman to the Door and we rang the doorbell and ran back to my house like a couple of laughing school kids. Brenda and Maureen and Ross and I peered through the front window of our place as the chosen neighbours came out and laughed and enjoyed the fact that Frosty had chosen them this year. You see, Frosty knew that Michael and Rosamund had their 5 and 7 year old granddaughters visiting. Michael is Jewish and had no seasonal lights outside, and Frosty just knew that they and their granddaughters would make perfect hosts this Christmas season. Now the small tree and the few lights and decorations that Michael bought especially for this Christmas season for the girls to decorate on the inside of the house, will have company with Frosty proudly standing guard on the outside and lighting the way to Grandma and Grandpa’s house.
Merry Christmas everybody! And from Frosty too!