Hugs and kisses snowball fight

Rick Ryckeley

There was no doubt I was losing the first snowball battle of this winter — and losing badly. They had me cornered with an unrelenting barrage from which there was no escape. Head, belly, and, yes, bottom were all big targets. It was the first snowball fight that I didn’t mind being in — even when one or two snowballs “accidently” got stuffed down my shirt. Finally, I was playing with snowballs without frostbitten fingers. In fact, I wasn’t cold at all — a dream come true. But instead of starting this story at its end, let’s start it at its beginning.

Around our house, the slightest mention of snow in the forecast has us dancing for joy. And that’s just The Wife and me. The first snowflake of the season had fallen so we were scampering around searching for sleds, toboggans and that ever-popular Disk of Death.

The kids were excited too, but before venturing out and rolling around in a yard full of snow, we needed to wait a couple of hours so we would actually have a yard full of snow.

So I decided to tell them how Dad got us dressed for snow fun back on the Flamingo Street. They wanted to know if I had a snow story and was that Bully Brad kid in it? Smiling I answered, “Why, yes, and yes.”

Simply put: Down the Street Bully Brad was, is, and forever will be a bully. For those seven years we lived on Flamingo, his weekly bullying left scars that still run deep to this very day. And none run deeper, or colder, than what happened during our first snowstorm.

After snowing all night, in the morning everything outside was covered, and not a single footprint or animal track broke the silent blanket of white. From across our front yard, stretching as far as the eye could see in any direction, it was a winter wonderland. Conditions were perfect for the forthcoming snowball battle. But first we had to pass Dad’s dress test.

Underpants and undershirt was the first layer. A long-sleeved shirt, long pants, and socks were all part of the second layer. Dad believed in order to keep warm we had to stay dry, so he added a third layer. Trash bags. Yep, our Dad wrapped us in trash bags, including our hands and feet, and then added yet another layer of clothing. I could hardly move, but at least I’d be warm and dry. Or so I thought. Shuffling down our driveway we finally made it out into the street only to be pummeled by snowballs. Snowballs thrown by none other than Down the Street Bully Brad.

Even though it was four against one, we were getting pounded. With so many layers of clothes, my brothers and I could hardly move, much less bend over to make snowballs and return a volley. Nope, we were helpless, and Brad knew it. He started stuffing handfuls of snow down my shirts. Eventually my three brothers were able to chase him off, but the damage was done. I was made more of snow than Frosty.

So, what of Bully Brad and that first snowball fight of the year? He won that skirmish, but my brothers and I eventually won the war.

After chasing Bully Brad off that day, and “un-snowstuffing” me, we set out gathering up snow, making eight perfect snowballs, and planning our revenge. We stowed them in Mom’s chest freezer until the following July 4th when there wasn’t a single snowflake in sight.

Going to retrieve the snowballs, we found that she had thrown them out months before. It wasn’t a complete loss though. We filled a bucket up with water balloons, chased down Bully Brad, and finally got our wet revenge, although not as cold as we wanted it to be.

That incident was over 54 years ago, and I haven’t enjoyed being out in the snow or playing with snowballs since. That is until a few days ago when it started to snow, prompting the first snowball fight of the season to break out … inside our house.

Yes, Dear Reader, they make buckets full of indoor snowballs. White and stuffed with I don’t know what, they are the perfect size and feel like a real snowball. Perfect for throwing. Our two granddaughters, Little One and that lefty Sweet Caroline are dead shots. At least this time when I lose the snowball fight, I’ll get hugs and kisses.

[Rick Ryckeley has been writing stories since 2001. To read more of Rick’s stories, visit his blog:]