These melodic words were on my lips throughout my childhood. My mother and father chimed in – whomever was nearest, as I recited my favourite book. It was a melody we sang throughout the day and even as they tucked me in at night.
I can still recite the first five pages or so . . .
Happy Winter, rise and shine!/ I love the early morning time./ My sister snuggles close to me – Two bugs in a rug we laugh and see/ How frosty patterns look like lace –/
Each window has its special face./ We rub the glass – Hey look out there!/ Surprise! Surprise! Snow’s everywhere!/ And everything’s so twinkly bright – / Hooray for the snow that fell last night!
This book creates such a feeling of excitement for winter. The rhythms of the words bounce me throughout the day. The first image displayed here is one from when I lived in Edmonton. I woke up one morning to find a beautiful frosted pattern on my window. My poorly placed window plastic, along with the leaky, old and splintery window as well as the cold and sunny day created the perfect conditions for some intricately formed frosted stars.
The second image is from the last weekend in January, which Z and I spent at the cottage. It was a true cold and wintry weekend up north – unlike the winter we experience here in the big city. We spent our weekend outdoors, cross-country skiing as well as snowshoeing. Our pup Reggie loved tagging along with us. You can see his tracks zigzagging across our ski tracks. Just imagine him bounding through the deep snow, his eyes all bright, tongue hanging out. We plowed along slowly through the deep uncut snow. He would stop, look back and quietly whine – “hurry up now! There’s so much to explore!”
My parents would take their turns reading this book to me each night. I would also take turns with them in reading the lines, or alternate pages – my eyes wide “Dad, can I turn the page and read the next one – the page where they make the chocolate cake?”
We would wake up on a snowy Saturday morning. Mom would be in the kitchen making her cup of black tea. We would both look out the window together . . . “Happy winter!!” “Rise and shine!”
Happy Winter, get-dressed song -/ I wish it didn’t take so long/ To wriggle into old snowsuits./ To lace and hook the rubber boots./ To zip and snap to keep things on/ Or find a glove when mitten’s gone.
My siblings, D, J, and I would clamber towards the front door across the carpet in our sock feet to the cold tile of the front entry. Standing on our tippy toes we would reach up together for the large Rubbermaid container with all the mittens and scarves. It would take us a while to find the appropriate mittens – a matching pair. We would try on various scarves – some would smell funny, “Hey look, it’s Dad’s old red scarf! I’m wearing this one!” We’d waddle outside in our mismatched outfits to try out the GT snow racer on the small hill in the park. If I go further back to the days where the snow piled higher and higher, we would dig out our own form of igloo in the piles of snow created by the plow.
Happy Winter, shout and laugh!/ I’ll be the first to stomp a path/ So follow me – my boots make tracks/ That wind about and double back/ To one smooth place of sparkly snow . . .
This image is from when Z and I went snowshoeing on the final day of our weekend at the cottage. We cut across the field from his uncle’s house and then across the road to an outdoor excursion company’s property. We cut through their trail that went through the cedar bush and over to a vacant property. It was my first time snowshoeing. If we had done this hike without the snowshoes it would’ve been miserable. Instead of slogging through the deep snow, we were able to enjoy the views around us and imagine the possibilities for our future property.
Even Reggie was mesmerized by the views. He was usually the first to “stomp a path”.
Happy Winter, steamy tub/ To soak and splash in, wash and rub./ Big blobs of bubbles pile on me/ The way the snow sits on a tree.
This lonely tree we discovered among all the cedars does have big bubbles all over it like the girl in the tub. The image of the bathtub in this book always fascinated me. I couldn’t help but notice that the tub had FEET! Well, this was some tub! I imagined it walking away with the girl in it, or making it’s way over to the over-sized carpets in the bathroom – you know bathroom floors are quite cold in the winter!
I dream one day of having my own tub with feet! Maybe it will look something like this. Or maybe I will have a huge over-sized carpet in front of it as well and after a long day of adventuring outside I can sprawl all my warm winter clothes all over it and have a warm soak in a footed bathtub.
A Happy Winter day cannot last indefinitely. This book was also the perfect book for my parents to get me to go to sleep. As they would turn to the last three pages, they were completely black, with only the white text on them:
With one last flick it’s dark again./ The big black night is soft and spread/ Just like the quilt upon my bed./ I’m warm and toasty, very snug,/ Then Mama comes for one last hug/ And sings a winter lullaby,
You can see that we read this together many times. The page is now taped in the middle. My mom or dad would start reading this page along with me. They would flick out the light. We knew it by memory. They would slowly walk out the door, peeking their head through as they closed it slowly and said the last words. Then I would close my eyes and fall asleep – my imagination continuing on in its wintry wonderland.
– This post is dedicated to my Mom and Dad.