“Life will sometimes hand you a magical moment. Savor it.”
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr., “Life’s Little Instruction Book,” No. 644
So this week we got ourselves a puppy. That’s not such an easy thing to do these days. After a year of pandemic lockdowns, there have been a lot of folks who decided this was a great time to get themselves a furry companion. Thus, the supply is pretty limited.
Thankfully, a friend of a friend of a friend happened to have some puppies available, and this week we picked up a sweet little mutt that we decided to call Pippi Longstocking.
It’s been fun watching the little pup bounce and pounce through this late-winter snowstorm. It makes a guy feel young again to frolic with a little puppy.
It’s like the feeling of childish anticipation for the first big snowfall of the year, joining the kids to eagerly watch the weather report in the days preceding, then celebrating the minor miracle when the flakes finally begin falling.
However, while on the inside I’m still an 8-year-old in love with snow, on the outside I’m a 40-something guy who feels a growing tug of old-guy inertia, especially when I’m sitting on the couch.
In other words — and I’m speaking frankly just between friends here — I’m not always quite as excited to go out and play in the snow with my kids as I should be.
But life is what you make it, and so I arise and head out into our mild little Western Washington blizzard.
I’m always glad when I go out, of course. Whether snowball fights or snowmen, sledding or snow angels, it’s a blast to take advantage of this little burst of classic wintertime.
As much as the gravitational pull of the couch wants to hold me down, the gravity of the moment has an equally strong pull on my conscience and consciousness.
Puppies aren’t tiny for long, and neither are children. I realize my kids will be out of the house before I know it. When the couch is comfy, I can discomfit myself by listening in advance to the regrets of 60-year-old me, remembering moments when the snow fell and I didn’t quite manage to make it outside.
So I pull on a thick coat, step into the insulated Muck boots and leave the warmth of the home for the brilliant chill of the winter wonderland outside.
And what do you know — when I answer that fatherly call of duty, I’m rewarded by becoming a kid again.
It all comes back to me, and more: romping through the snow, helping make snow forts before joining in the battle on both sides, making plans to go sledding with the neighbors, inventing a new game called roof avalanche bowling (tossing snowballs onto the steeply pitched roof and watching them roll down ever-larger), adding carrot noses to snowmen — it’s timeless.
When the snow shows up, all we have to do is show up, too.
Huge congratulations to my parents, Mike and Margo Mittge, who celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last week. Through ups and downs, they stayed together, and it’s made all the difference in my life.
Their marriage is a pillar for generations of the family to come, just as they have been a pillar in our community.
Thank you, mom and dad, for making a home for us and being committed to each other for half a century. Onward!
Brian Mittge is happily snowbound with the family (including the puppy) in rural Chehalis. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org