CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Don't you love the snow! We loved the winter. There wasn't a lot to do in the winter, so we slowed down a lot. Of course, Mom wouldn't let us stay in the house all day long unless it was blue cold. How cold is blue? She did make some allowances in the winter. She always stayed home and took care of us, so we didn't need a baby sitter. She would make us or let us play outside as much as possible. I can understand that, can't you?
The latest movement for health improvement is to make the kids play outside for at least 60 minutes a day. We played outside all day long and only came in when necessary. When it came to winter, we did stay in more than normal. We would play board games or with our toys in the toy room. Playing in the snow was the greatest thing to do in the winter. We would throw snowballs. Build igloos. Build giant snowmen. We loved to slide as much as possible. On the road or on the sidewalks at school, we slid everywhere we went. We even tried to slide uphill. I let our granddaughter go out to play the other day in the snow. The first thing she did was to hop off the sidewalk, lay down in the snow, and made a snow angel. I remember those days. Now, if I laid down in the snow I might not be able to get back up without considerable pain or loss of consciousness.
Back in the day, a car hood was the way to go for sleigh riding. Car hoods were in short supply in our town, so it wasn't every day we rode the Cadillac. Most of the time, we rode the steel runners or those new sleds they came out with that we called flying saucers. These were aluminum disks with straps on the sides for handles.
Do you remember the fire we built to keep warm? We always had a fire going with two or three old tires on it for fuel. When we went home, our faces would be black from the soot and smoke off those tires burning. However, we were warm for the time being.
Burning was to be done on a daily basis in the burn barrel. That was my job. But when it came to sleigh riding you needed a big fire with lots of tires. You could get rid of your trash, tires, spare wood, and create some heat at the same time. We burnt two birds with one match. It was the smart thing to do and the practical thing to do. We were all about being practical. I loved snow days. We didn't get as many as they do today. We didn't want the plow to come around the road, because that meant the bus would come and get us.
Also, it meant we couldn't ride our sleds on the roads. The salt would stop our runners dead on their tracks. If you could find a day that the plow didn't run, you could fly down the hills on the old steel runner sleds. We never thought that a car might be coming. I guess it could have, but it never did so we were safe. Safety wasn't something we lived by. We didn't have seat belts, bicycle helmets, and knee pads. We just bounced off the ground or the pavement and kept on going. Of course, there was a broken bone or a broken tooth occasionally. Now, that would slow you down some. I hated it when Dad would put chains on Mom's car. Then Mom took us to school and picked up every kid she could find standing on the road waiting for the bus. She did not have to call the parents to ask permission she just did it. We usually went to school regardless of the bus running or not. It was all because of those chains and Mom's determination to get us there.
We were the janitors at church, so we always went early and shoveled the sidewalks and poured on the salt. I remember only one morning when there were only a handful of people at church. That was the morning that Dad and I in his old Chevrolet pickup pushed the snow with the bumper. But we made it and we shoveled the walks and opened the church. It was just so bad that not many folks were able to come.
Chains and old two-wheel drive Chevy was all we needed to make it to worship. It was our duty. It wasn't questioned. We were church people so we went just like Dad would go to work. It was never questioned. Although the snow might slow us a bit and create an inconvenience, it also taught us some things. Remember what the Bible says about the snow in Isaiah.
Isaiah 1: 15: wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight! When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes from you; even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood; 16 Stop doing wrong, 17 Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow. 18 let us reason together," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.
Hopefully, we slow down when the snow hits, so that we don't hit any trees or go over the hill. Winter is a good time to think about it things. Isaiah said to take a minute to look at our hands. What have we been doing with them? The Lord's people were using their hands to worship the idols of the world that lead them to take the lives of the innocent ones. Their bloody hands needed a good washing. He said to stop doing wrong and become white as snow. The pure snow from heaven would be our standard for cleansing. Are we clean yet? Are we white as snow? Do the right thing and stop doing the wrong. Let the Lord forgive you and you will be white as snow.