I was on the phone the other day with one of my colleagues and the topic of snow came up. That is a pretty typical conversation this time of year for people in New England; when will it stop, it sucks, how much will we get. the usual. I started laughing at him because I moved south five years ago. If I never see snow again it will be too soon. I don’t miss the shoveling, the cold, the slipping and falling. I miss none of it. I wish I moved south years earlier. What made this so strange, he has a house in Florida. He will not move because of hurricanes. New England gets far more snow and actual blizzards than Florida gets hurricanes. That conversation did bring up some good memories. Snow is great if you are a kid in New England. It can start snowing in October and last to late April, maybe early May.
I remember as a kid waking up for school and the first thing you did, look out the window to see if it snowed, then, of course, you went to the radio (WCCM back in the day) to see if you had school. Typically it had to be 6 inches or more to cancel school. If that golden voice rang out, “No school for Salem” it was like getting out of jail, a free day. They would always add a day to the end of the year to make it up, but nobody gave a shit. That was June and even the teachers checked out by then. It was a win all the way around.
We would grab something to eat and head out sledding, or play street hockey, dig tunnels, have snowball fights, all the typical things you did as a kid. If it had been cold enough long enough and the ponds were frozen then it was game on, pond hockey.
If you have never played pond hockey then you have never truly experienced the sport. Playing on a pond is going back to the very beginning of the sport, the roots. We would all grab our sticks, gloves, and our skates were attached to our stick. We walked about a mile in the snow to Bodwell pond, the muck hole as it was called. Usually, there was a shovel there to clear your spot. Once our skates were on we threw our sticks in a pile and somebody would randomly throw one stick one way and another stick in the opposite direction. This was done until all the sticks were gone, those were the teams. We would play for hours. Some people left and others came, they just joined the game.
There was nothing quite like it, skating on a pond with your friends or strangers. The only bad part, when you had to chase the puck down the other end of the pond. There was no checking, just good body positioning, no slap shots, just good passing, stick handling, and scoring.
At the end of the day, we were frozen, you could hardly feel your toes and we still had to walk all the way home. I do miss those games but I don’t miss the cold, the winter, or anything about that time of year. There is nevertheless one thing I do miss more than anything, my Nana. When I got home or came in from the cold in any way; playing or shoveling she had a warm meat pie (Scachatta in Italian) with sauce and meatballs. I do miss that and nana more.