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Saturday morning. Snow and ice abound. I clamber aboard my iced vehicle and carefully, CAREFULLY make my way through Southside, sailing to work at the whim of nature and chance.

I actually arrive at the bookshop Downtown, unscathed, un-snowbound, the only denizen in sight, the sole survivor of a species huddling indoors.

I stoke the furnace, say g’day to the books and facsimile Santas, and begin my workday.

Yes, there are booklovers out there for whom snow and ice are mere challenges, not barriers. A few trickle in, have enjoyable browses, make their purchases and continue their explorations of a winter day of sunshine and slippery.

As I prepare to close the shop at closing time, I recall a day long, long ago, when I was a mere tad experiencing my first and best snowfall.

Here’s an entry from my Red Clay Diary:


One day when I was seven years old, the world got all cleaned up and everything got a chance to start all over again.

Overnight, the multi-textured earth became one smooth, soft, icy texture, the world of colors and hues became one wonderful multi-shaded land of whites and off-whites and cream-whites and shadowed whites and faintly pinkish whites.

The world overnight cleansed the landscape and allowed clapping children to remold everything in their own images.

Snowmen and snowwomen appeared quickly, playing guardian to our delight. Makeshift sleds materialized mysteriously out of old siding, ragged boards, large tubs and pans.

Footprints showed us who had been where and from where and where to, leaving traces of their makers—something that could never happen during ordinary times.

Mother took the whitened landscape that our Father had gathered from the yard and shrubbery and, waving her large magic wand of a serving-spoon, created the sweetest, sloshiest ice cream I’ve ever tasted.

Large multilayered men came outside to pretend they were younger in the deepening creamy banks, and little stuffed-slug kids meandered about in pelts made of nylon and dacron and cotton and leather.

Though we could barely make out each others’ faces under all those makeshift scarves, we recognized everybody instantly, because they were our transmogrified neighbors and playmates running amok upon the unfamiliar terra-infirma.

All human routine was suspended, and during that 24-hour period so many years ago, nobody seemed to hold a job, nobody had homework to do, nobody had to be anywhere else but right there on our block on Eastwood Avenue right down from McArthur Avenue and Patton Avenue and 15th Street.

Some celestial force had taken over our little village for a day and, like Brigadoon, it would not repeat itself in our lifetimes but would save itself for the next hundred-year generation that needed a quick and gentle cleansing so that the next day, when all was back to normal texture normal color normal temperature normal firma, everybody who had experienced this whiter-than-white washing of the spirit would have a memory to cherish in old age, a memory of things being just right and just magical and just totally real all at the same time 

(c) Jim Reed 2017 A.D.

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