Snow not as appealing as it used to be


You know you are getting old when snow no longer holds one single bit of appeal.

I think of all the times I hoped for snow — heck, even prayed for snow. We wanted enough snow to create an incredible winter wonderland.

It wasn’t like getting off of school meant lying around for part of the day when I was a kid, because the cows still needed milked both early morning and late afternoon. It just meant that we could squeeze lots of fun in-between the chores.

This past week, as schools all around this area were forced to close because of ice and snow, a co-worker mentioned that her teenage daughter loved having snow days to sleep and watch movies and talk on the phone. When I mentioned my high school days filled with milking cows and doing chores, she was shocked, “You had to get up every day at 4:30? That seems like child abuse!”

Heard it before

She’s not the first one to say this, of course. I’ve heard it many times. It nearly always makes me laugh, but this time it suddenly made me feel very, very old, like the old-timer talking about how hard the olden days were.

The fact that my childhood included extreme limits on telephone and television, timed practice sessions on the piano, high grades not only expected but demanded, along with both dairy barn chores and hog barn duties every day of the year strikes even my peers as cruel and unusual.

Imagine, then, the reaction of people half my age hearing these stories.

There is a non-fiction book out right now written by an Asian-America woman that is getting lots of attention, because she tells of the strict way in which she raised her daughters. I’ve read it, and it makes me wonder why all the fuss. She demanded self-discipline and hard work, did not praise mediocrity, did not accept lying around doing nothing.

The difference is we didn’t want to lie around doing nothing. If a snowy day came along, we hurried to dig out the sled and snow saucer. The only phone call we would make went out to neighbor kids, asking them to meet us at the sledding hill near the tree house.

Ice skates

If the winter had been harsh enough for long enough, we would dig out the ice skates, then grab a scoop shovel from the barn to make paths on the snow-covered farm pond. Dressed in many layers against the bitter cold, it didn’t seem to hurt much at all to take a fall. We would skate until we could no longer feel our feet.

Now, I am suddenly scared to death of falling on the ice. My bones hurt at the very thought. I look out at the snow and instead of marveling at the possibilities of all the fun it holds, I dread going out in the bitter cold.

I do still marvel at its beauty, but I want to capture it in a photograph, not witness it from the back of a speeding toboggan.

Old lady?

When in the heck did I turn into this old lady? I now require reading glasses, I take my vitamins and calcium, battle back the weight, rail against the wrinkles and laugh lines, dream of Florida during the entire month of February, and tell stories of the olden days.

But, each day that passes brings us one day closer to spring. Hold that thought!


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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, and three grandchildren.


  1. Although not quite the abusive, draconian childhood that produced Judith ;), My kids have had a range of chores since very young (8 or 9) including but not limited to, dishes, care of pets including pastured animals, watering/weeding garden (in season), chopping and loading wood, general cleaning (it’s particularly important to me that Boywonder learn that his manliness will not detach if he touches a vacuum cleaner), laundry, rooms, etc.

    I have had people tell me “it’s too much.” I just laugh and point to the lovely Mennonite Family next door. Their children are happy and healthy and appear to be busy doing something productive from sunup to sundown. Compared to THEM, my kids are living the good life. We might even be slackers.

    It’s all in choosing your neighborhood!


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