The Evil, Alien Snowman
And the Flying Sammy Snader Alligator
Do They Still Make Corncob Pipes?
The snowman. The icon of children playing with very little resources; some coal, a button, a pipe and a hat. Stuff you can gather at just about any Kentucky trailer park, but you may want to sterilize it first...especially the pipe. We had a fantastic winter for snow in late 2005 and early 2006. It snowed easily 3-4 days a week from November 1st up until he end of January. We had been trying to get out and enjoy it as much as possible and had some spare time on a rare sunshine filled Sunday afternoon. Tanis had been wanting to build a snowman.
To be honest, I am not sure how many I had ever built. Living in the Willamette Valley the majority of my childhood didn't lend many opportunities to build a whole lot of snowmen. It doesn't so much snow as...rain. Lots of it. Buckets of it. All the time. Without end. It is a miseryfest the size of an Enron balance sheet. Starting in September, the rains start and really don't stop until June. It rains non-stop for weeks on end with maybe an hour's worth of sunshine in between the drenchings. In the first twenty-thre days of January this year, Portland had already received a significant portion of their annual rainfall. Needless to say, we had recieved that same type treatment in snow on the other side of the Cascades in Central Oregon.
Our front yard was buried in about a foot or so of snow, with crisp crust in the shade and a softer snow in the sun. Linda and Tanis tried putting together some snowballs to roll into the large base, but the snow wasn't cohesive, it wasn't sticky at all. It was too cold to get the snow to gel together.
The origins of the snowman are varied, but really entered into the American consciencess in the 1950's with the song "Frosty the Snowman," a follow-up tune from "Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer" sung by Gene Autry. It was produced and released from a company called Tin Pan Alley which was very popular during the 19th to mid 20th cenuties. Of course, I remember seeing the 1982 Frosty the Snowman animated television show and now seen every single holiday for three weeks prior to the Orgy of Paper Ripping on December 25th. It is probably my least favorite of all the christmas cartoons. It's kind of cheesy and creepy all at the same time. Not on par with the creepiness of "Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer," with the elf who wants to be a dentist, an abominable snowman who is dumb and benevolent and the island of misfit toys, but it has it's own place in my halls of ick. This hall is wide with voluminous ceilings, stacked floor to roof with ick. Lots and lots of ick.
In Lithuania, the snowman represents a man without brains. Evidently in the winter of 2005 there was a protest where the country's folk made a single snowman for each of it's members of parliament in front of the government buildings. It would be fun to do this here in the states, but there isn't enough snow, nor snowmakers nor possible percipitation for the next ten years to represent the empty-headedness of our current goverment.
As we started putting the snowman together, it became painfully evident that none of us knew what we were doing. It is logical that the largest snowball goes on the bottom, giving the best base possible. As ours turned out, the middle was larger than the bottom. I think we were trying to make the "Average American Male" snowman where the waist is larger then the length of the pants. We tried slimming it down, only to create a square base and lacking the required roundness. The middle was lopsided and still slightly larger than the rest. The head wouldn't fit since we had tried to shave the middle to make it slimmer.
Our dog was going crazy running around in the snow. Occasionally helping by knocking the snowman over and having us start over a few times. He was really helping, the first couple of tries at a snowman were worse than what we ended up with. We lacked coal, a hat, the arms, the ears...you are starting to see where this is going. In the end, our snoman was an evil looking alien with blank, wide eyes and two or three rocks to make a gaping mouth. The rocks fell out, just leaving a divot of dirty snow. We tried putting sticks for his arms, but they just looked like claws reaching for screaming children. It stayed up long enough for a passing group of Jehova's Witnesses to jump out of their vehicle and drown the snowman in holy water while screaming "THE POWER OF CHRIST COMPELS YOU!!!" The snowman melted miserably into a thick pea-soup puddle.