Tom’s digital alarm clock radio went off due to a this-early-morning car accident that he didn’t know about. Tom was working late at home last night (he couldn’t finish some documentation at work); consequently, he went to bed feeling extremely exhausted. A fearless driver stupidly challenged Nature and ended up crashing his car against a utility pole; as a result, its power transformer simply exploded. Tom’s deep sleep didn’t allow him to hear all the skirmish caused by this collision: some curious neighbors having theories about it and the lights and sirens of police cars, fire engines, and ambulances. All this effort was made just to find out the driver’s bravery on the road was not a valid reason or emergency but his beer-drinking birthday celebration. The high alcohol blood level couldn’t compete against the big snow barrier which covered the side of the street where the broken utility pole was.
And that’s why Tom didn’t realize all this was happening next door affecting his morning routine by changing his mood.
“Damn it! It’s too late! I’m late for work…”, Tom said after a quick shower and while combing his hair. “No time for breakfast… Thank God I prepared my briefcase before going to bed”, he told himself to calm down. He walked to his studio, took his briefcase, and walked to the living room to take and put on his coat, went to the garage, started his car, waited a minute, and when he opened the garage gate, he realized that the entrance was all covered with snow. He couldn’t believe his eyes!
Tom knew what to do: he called his boss up in absence for work. His boss explained it was a general situation for everybody; so, there was no need to worry. They agreed to work at home today and to have all documents and tasks ready for tomorrow.
Feeling a bit better, Tom cooked some breakfast, ate it up, and put himself to work. He was a very responsible employee, indeed. There was no doubt about it. His life was his job, and his job was his life. He knew it and accepted it gladly. No regrets; therefore, no complaints. “You are what you choose to be, and you must respect that! Besides, there are several kinds of people, anyway”, he assumed.
Tom focused on all the papers. He had everything the way it should be. The time came and passed: the hours were devoured by his mind’s actions. But somehow, somewhere, a sound called his attention. It came from the street, the metal-pavement happy melody of two spinning wagon wheels. “It must be an Amish buggy!”, he concluded. “But how comes?”, he wondered due to the earlier pile of snow. Then, he heard some sort of hubbub. “Those are laughs! Children’s laughs and talks…”, Tom affirmed. Curiosity won its way. Tom was on his feet and went to the front door. He opened it to look at what was going on. Everything was back to normal. Some neighborhood children were playing in the snow. Some of them were running while having a snowball fight, some were lying down to create snow angels, and some of the children were making snowmen. He kept watching, carefully. Without knowing it, his face drew a wide smile, it was shining. It was like gazing at a wonderful view in a magical land.
Tom remembered… his childhood. Lancaster has always kept traditions for ages, nothing seemed to change. Tom just loved it! Nice, friendly, honest, and hardworking, people everywhere and wonderful places to visit and enjoy: Route 30 Diner and Miller’s restaurant and bakery on Lincoln Highway; Ronks and Paradise with their train railroads; Bird-In-Hand and its Farmers Market; Plain & Fancy restaurant, souvenir shop, and hotel with its buggy-rides on Old Philadelphia Pike; Intercourse with its Amish life, products, and arts, spending quality time reading in its Public Library; and Strasburg!, with its square pizza at Pizza City and tasty ice cream on the N Decatur St and W Main St corner (he can even taste the flavor of his favorite cherry-vanilla ice cream), and its train theme places such as the National Toy Train Museum, the Red Caboose Motel, the Strasburg Rail Road and, of course, the Rail Road Museum of Pennsylvania, among so many others.
“Hey, Tommy, let’s play!”, his brothers, sisters, and friends proposed. He was 10 years old. “It’s a great day to play”, they insisted.
“Mom, can we go skating on the river, too?”, his older brother inquired.
“Are you finished with your house chores and school homework?”, she asked in response.
“Sure, mama. We did it all”, all children answered as one.
“Go on, then”, she replied.
Tom traveled back in time to those days when snow was the perfect excuse to have it all… Maybe its color implies your heart’s chastity, for you to keep it alive as a grown person. Something Tom just noticed while looking at the youngsters’ activity. Suddenly, he felt alive. Winter tied every element up. All things and living beings joined to form a whole of excitement and adventure. Snow connected it all. It was a tough soft tissue that caressed Tom to see what he was made of. It made him strong while feeling the elements.
Today’s snow achieved its goal: to unfreeze Tom’s heart (heartbeats renewing his blood). Snow showed the way to treasure essential life factors. He comprehended it was the first time he truly looked at the snow this winter and for a long time. “Every season is a beginning, not an end”, he thought.
Tom took a step forward… He walked a bit more on the snow as if he were feeling it with bare feet. He approached the kids. Then he told the playful children: “May I play with you?”
They nodded in agreement.
“What’s your name? We have seen you passing by, yet we haven’t met”, they said.
“I see. My name is Tom. Nice to meet all of you”, Tom introduced himself.
A couple of little girls approached timidly. They welcomed him to their games by holding hands to guide Tom. The rest of them stopped doing whatever they were doing to pay attention to the new playing mate’s visit.
“Hi!”, everybody said.
The girls stopped holding his hands. Tom lost his balance and fell on his back.
“The snow saved you, sir”, a child explained.
Tom looked at him, at them, and started to laugh. It was contagious laughing. The children echoed it.
“Hey, Tommy, let’s play!” a kid invited.
Tom felt he was 10 again.