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I remember it snowing a lot when I was a kid. We’d get feet of snow sometimes. The plows would come through and clear the parking lot of St. James Lutheran Church. I lived across the street. Next to my Grandma Marge who both attended and cleaned the church that was attached to the parking lot where the plows created mountain ranges just for us. They were probably only 6 feet tall but the air felt thinner up there.

There were two piles that ran opposite lengths of the lot. One was always larger than the other due to the way the plows pushed the snow. Every kid wanted this one. Being the first to get there was always the goal. Teams emerged and one would eventually raid the other. It took several kids to defend a side. Many snowballs were absorbed by the faces of little boys back in those days. The wet snow was the worst. You could really pack it.

We also dug tunnels. It felt like you were really doing something when you were moving that snow. And you were. Fortresses don’t build themselves. They do make great staging areas for decisive matches of King of the Hill. The older boys, my brother Paul and his friends, usually triumphed. If you consider overpowering weaker beings triumphing. Back to the tunnels if you don’t mind, they always felt dangerous. It was quiet in there. All that snow deadened sound. The thought of a cave in makes me hold my breath even now. But that never happened.

We spent many days on those mounds. Me, Michael, Justin, Mark, Brent, Paul, Brian, and Andy. And a few others here and there. Sometimes on a snow day. Most of the time after school before the street lights came on. There’s another building on the far edge of the parking lot now, so they don’t pile the snow there anymore. Which I’m okay with.


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