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When it's light, snow is a delight

The lovely sight of a light morning dusting in Quincy, Mass., fulfilled a wish for the columnist’s daughters, who experienced snow for the first time in early December.

GABRIELLE MILLER | Special to the Times

The lovely sight of a light morning dusting in Quincy, Mass., fulfilled a wish for the columnist’s daughters, who experienced snow for the first time in early December.

They say you can't go home again, but we seem to anyway, at least once a year.

It is the nature of the Florida transplant to return for events like weddings and funerals and whirlwind family vacations that have you marveling over how everything and everyone has changed, seemingly overnight.

Our latest venture back home to New England was to attend a fair godchild's wedding in early December, a delightfully celebratory event that gathered folks from near and far and had my daughters wishing long and hard for a snowstorm.

"Don't," I ordered them, as thoughts of traipsing through the snow in heels, taking off in a blinding, white gale or being stuck on a snow-packed airport runway filled my head.

Really, how do you know that the plane is properly de-iced?

Neither of my daughters had seen real snow before, so they don't know what a pain it can be. The youngest is the lone native Floridian in our family. Her older sister might as well be, having lived here since she was just 6 months old.

They've never been to New England during the winter. So the visions that dance in their heads are pleasant dreams of frolicking through wintery woods, making snow angels, sledding down hills and, given their sibling nature, beaning each other with well-formed snowballs.

They don't know what it's like to break your back and freeze your butt shoveling the cold, wet and heavy stuff only to have the town snowplow come along and fill the drive again.

They've never had to scrape ice off a windshield or had to wait forever for the car to warm up. They have no clue what it's like to get your tires stuck and curse the winter because there's no bucket of sand in the trunk.

Not so much fun.

Still, in some ways, my daughters' wistful visions are akin to the memories I have of growing up in a Boston suburb.

I used to wish for snow, too — for Christmas, of course, and particularly prayerfully on the night before a big test that I probably blew off studying for.

So I'd hope for a storm: one too big for the plows to keep up with so we'd get a snow day from school, but not so fierce that we couldn't get out to make a fort or a snowman or go on tons of sled runs down the legendary "killer hill."

There were lots of collisions and near misses on that wooded hill, but it was never really as big as its lore.

You can't sled down killer hill anymore. They built apartments there years ago.

Even so, I discovered, you can still delight when you push back the hotel curtains on the morning of your departure to catch sight of the first snow.

Especially when it's a light dusting, one that won't affect your flight back to a warmer home, but will fall long enough to blanket the drab and dreary and brighten the world.

And be just moist enough to make a proper snowball meant for a sister's beaning.

Michele Miller may be reached at (727) 869-6251. Her e-mail is

When it's light, snow is a delight 12/21/08 [Last modified: Saturday, December 27, 2008 5:11pm]
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