Officially, winter is only days away. But we're in Florida, people. Even with our stingy little "cool fronts" it has been hard to think of winter in the way much of the rest of the nation knows it. • To help you get in a winter mood before you leave school on winter break, tb-two* took to the beach at Honeymoon Island to make the closest thing Florida has to a snowman. • Photo editor Gabrielle Calise and I scooped and heaped and patted our sand, and patted, and patted some more. It was not easy; some might even say our results were not pretty. But our sandman, or sandwoman, was a labor of love, because we came to love Pat, a name that fit because of all that patting we had to do. • Try it yourself this vacation. Here are some tips.
1 Don't get mad at Pat.
Sand is ridiculous. It's not Pat's fault if his/her jaw falls off or the carrot droops limply. Reposition the sand, add some water, pat it down a little, and you (and your beloved Pat) should be fine. I don't know how people do it with snow.
2 Don't get mad in general.
We made Pat on what was for Florida, a cold, windy day. Sand attacked us violently and stuck in an impenetrable layer on our faces. Pat's hat kept getting caught by the wind, jolting down the beach faster than I could chase after it. At this time of year, expect gusty conditions and be prepared to dress warmly, protect your face, and anchor the hat somehow, or leave it at home. It's cute, but it's not worth banging up your knee and screaming at the world as little kids look on, confused and scared.
3 Don't think it's going to look like it does on Pinterest.
Because it won't. You can stand there for days on end and the bottom sandball is still going to resemble a fat pancake, and the smile made out of a sea bean or whatever you can find on the beach is still going to look demonic. Be happy with a general form, though, regardless of what it might be. Pat's not perfect; nobody's perfect.
4 Deck Pat up with shells and seaweed.
We put a hat, sunglasses and shell necklace on Pat for the typical Florida beach bum look (we tried a Hawaiian shirt, but unless you shop at the Short and Big-Bottomed Store, a shirt doesn't work). Look for other tropical objects on the beach to make your Florida winter mascot look like no other; spread a towel and drag a beach chair over for a great photo. You'll always know why Pat is smiling — it's Florida in the winter.