Today, this post is dedicated to my dear friend, Susie. Since I didn’t get you a birthday present, and I can’t find a card that is as beautiful as one you would make, here is my gift to you…. a memory. Happy birthday dear friend. “Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble.” (Proverbs 17:17, the Message)
Living in military housing is a unique experience, especially when the base you are assigned to is a small base. Such was the case when we lived in Winter Harbor, Maine.
There was temporary housing sixty miles away in Bangor, and that is where we met our friends (and now family) Nana and Biggie, (Little Man’s other set of grandparents).
When we first met, we lived in the same quad unit. Nana and family moved to Winter Harbor first. Several months later, it was our turn to move. There were two options for hubby and I to move to. One was called New Fund, an area of new quad townhouse type units, the other was Old Fund (yes, there was not much creativity in naming the areas), a group of duplex that had more character and was our first choice. We did get a lovely unit in Old Fund. Across the street from us, Nana and Biggie and their children lived, we were destined to be together.
Below Old Fund was another area, Capehart, for the senior enlisted and officers. Nana, Biggie, Hubby and I had (and still have) several friends who lived in that area.
All of this is background for the story I am about to share. I wanted you to have a mental image of at least the two areas, Old Fund and Capehart.
One day a good snow storm moved into the town. I am certain it was everything that just happened this week in New England. The only difference was that this took place a good 32 years ago and there was no Weather Channel to tell us how dire the weather was. We saw it as a good snow.
Nana was a preschool teacher at the time and had a board meeting scheduled at her house that evening. She cancelled it and thought she gotten hold of all the members. She was in her comfy clothes and in for the night.
As usual, hubby was in a playful mood and went over to see what they were up to. He popped over, basically harassed Nana and came home. Unbeknownst to an unsuspecting board member who went to the cancelled meeting, he knocked on Susie’s door, only to get hit with a snowball by her. She explained that she had thought he was my hubby. He laughed, as he knew my hubby well and went home.
That event started a chain of events that makes that night the most memorable night ever. It is legend.
I don’t know who challenged whom that night, but the gauntlet was thrown down. A snowball fight! We got our outdoor clothes on and met in the street. We tossed a few snowballs and decided it wasn’t enough. We would go to Capehart! We would challenge the housing area there.
We left our future son-in-law to watch our oldest, who was a toddler then, and off we went. Capehart housing was below our houses. Looking down the little hill, it looked like an idyllic setting. A quaint picturesque scene. Snow covered houses and roads and in between a small hill, a cow pasture and a path somewhere beneath the snow.
The four of us headed down. We almost lost Susie in a drift, but Biggie was there to pull her out. We knocked on the first door, of course, the knock was with snowballs. The couple poked their head out. They smiled. We hollered, ‘no kids allowed’! They came out. We went door to door. We made noise, lots of it. We got as many people as possible to join in. We were armed as each door opened, snowballs in hand, ready to let go, even at the door that had no glass in it. Snowballs flew into the living room! Oops! That didn’t matter, we still laughed.
The snowball fight lasted for a while. We ransacked that idyllic neighborhood. People were tackled, people were thrown, snowballs got bigger and harder. Biggie got a face full of snow. It knocked him over. It was incredible! I was standing beside the man who threw the snowball. Biggie got up, he looked in the direction of where the snowball came. He bent over in his best football move and charged toward us. The thrower of the snowball stepped aside just in time. Not me. It was my first time being tackled. Actually, it was the only time I was tackled. I can remember getting some air beneath my feet before landing into a snow bank. Biggie looked down at me. He was so apologetic! So, was the thrower of the snowball! I was laughing too hard to notice.
There were skirmishes like this all over the small housing area. Soon, we all broke up and went home. After all, it was a school night. Hubby and I went back to Nana and Biggie’s house. We had hot chocolate. We laughed some more.
Memories like these make a life. That night is one that is mentioned when anyone from that group gets together. It was a night when these couples became kids again. There were no children allowed to play with us. We played like we wanted to. We played like kids. These military families who were responsible for so much took a break and had fun.
Words cannot express the joy, the laughter, the play that was in that night. It was our gift to each other. It is a memory that time cannot erase. The laughter still echoes in my head. The expressions on the faces of those taking part are etched into my heart. It is a joy I carry with me.
So, thank you for sticking with me in this long post today. Susie, happy birthday friend. It has been an adventure knowing you. We may not ransack any neighborhoods again, but, what a ride we have had! Happy birthday dear friend! DAF