Kevin McKeever: Spoon over the dough if you don't want snow
If you are enjoying this winter's lack of snow, give my children credit. While you're at it, give me cash to hide all the plastic spoons in our house.
If that has you scratching your head, prepare your scalp for more. According to climatologists, these relatively mild conditions across much of the nation have been caused by the phenomenon known as La Nina. That is the same La Nina, you may recall, these same weather experts had previously said was responsible for last winter's endless procession of Snowtastrophes, Snowpocalypses and Snowmageddons. Talk about your election year flip-flops.
My meteorological theory is probably just as credible. Its origins date back some years ago to when my children attended preschool. With the forecast calling for a high probability of snow accumulations one night, a teacher told students that if they all went to bed wearing their pajamas inside out and with plastic spoons under their pillows that a few inches would surely fall while they slept. Since someone other than their parents said this to my boy and girl, they dutifully did as they were told. Sure enough, they woke the next morning to a world whiter than a Michael Buble concert.
It was their ritual for years. A chill in the air combined with a gray ceiling outside meant turning out their PJ legs and combing the utility drawer for disposable cutlery. It didn't work all the time, but it did just enough to keep them regularly trying to exercise their imagined powers over the elements.
A few winters back they tried casting their spell for weeks without success. Al Roker might have claimed the cause was a change in the jet stream but I instead tried to protect their childhood fantasies by uncovering some error of minutia that allowed them to keep the faith. Someone's PJs were mismatched or a spoon had a slight nick, for example. One time we ran out of spoons so I avoided buying more. They tried our real imitation silverware and plastic forks, all unsuccessfully. Then one morning on our walk to school together, we experienced some flurries. Later that day when I stripped the sheets from my daughter's bed for washing, I discovered her head had been resting upon a cafeteria spork.
This winter, at ages 9 and 11, him obsessed with television wrestling and her with texting friends, there have been no mad searches through the utensil drawer. Any hint of an oncoming cold front still gets their salivary glands dripping: For some children, the first gathering of the flakes demands balling up a handful to toss at the nearest object. Others roll this fresh carpet up into a frosty new friend or pile it into an impenetrable fortress. Mine -- they arm themselves with every mixing bowl and repurposed hot-and-sour soup takeout container we have, head onto our porch and pack in every gram of white gold they can. They then bring their booty inside and start shoveling it straight into their mouths like it was heaven-sent Ben & Jerry's.
But it's obvious their thoughts have changed about things like magic spoons, as was noticeable on Christmas Eve when little talk of cookies for Santa or carrots for his reindeer passed from their lips.
While I'm a bit saddened at their reaching this age of not believing, I must admit I'm not the least bothered about the lack of a true winter. As the person my wife refers to as "Mitten Boy," owing to my frozen fingers whenever the faux mercury dips below 60 outside, my only regret is that I didn't see this coming before I forked over so much money preparing for another harsh winter. Roof rake, anyone? Cheap!
Stamford native and resident Kevin McKeever is a freelance writer. Visit his blog AlwaysHomeAndUncool.com or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.