12 Plays of Christmas: A Tin of Snow

Tin of snow

There was a time many, many moons ago when I hadn’t yet become the noted curmudgeon that I am today, a time when I still believed in magic and Kris Kringle and I put a great deal of effort into crafting the perfect Christmas list, one that was sure to grab Gifty Nick’s attention. Many items on that list changed from year to year but there was one thing that always held the Number One position: A Pet.

And who could blame me? Nearly every book I read or tv show I watched at the time clued me in on the fact that no young boy’s adventure life was complete without an animal companion. Dick had Spot (oh, grow up!) the Cocker Spaniel, Timmy had Lassie the rough collie, Mark had Gentle Ben the American black bear, Sandy had Flipper the bottlenose dolphin, and Sonny had Skippy the bush kangaroo. Who did I have? N-o-b-o-d-y and I only had one person to blame. Somebody in the house was allergic to pet dander, and that somebody’s name was Trista, my middle sister.

Undaunted, I penned (okay, it was in crayon but same difference) many letters to Santa detailing my dilemma and making a request for a non-allergenic pet (don’t look at me like that! If anyone could have pulled off that miracle, surely it had to be the red-coated gent whose belly shook like a bowl of jelly) but year after year no little-boy-bestest-pal-in-the-whole-wide-world ever showed up beneath the family Christmas tree (don’t waste your time naming hairless pets in the comment section below. It was the ’60s and we didn’t know anything about that, or if my folks did, they kept it a closely guarded secret).

Since my pleas fell on deaf Clausian ears, I was forced to take matters into my own hands and come up with a different plan. To my credit (hey, if I don’t toot my own horn, who will? Again, get your mind out of the gutter!) it didn’t take long for me to devise a unique solution to my problem.

Tins were a wonderful thing to me. They were a depository where the things a boy kept precious could be secreted away and tucked into the backs of closets or under loose floorboards. Mostly the contents of tins included stamps, coins, marbles, smooth and colorful stones, and the bits of refuse that could be viewed as a treasure to the furtive imagination of a young mind.

I collected snow.

Not just any snow, mind you—I wasn’t some type of frozen vapor hoarding lunatic—I collected the flakes from the first snowfall of the year and packed little rectangular bricks in the back of the freezer. Why? Because of Frosty the Snowman, who came to life after being imbued with the magical properties of first-fall snow. But I wasn’t going to build some ratty old snowman, no sir, not me. My goals were slightly loftier than that.

I was going to build a griffin. Agrippa the Ice Griffin. I couldn’t see my parents objecting to that, unless Trista suddenly developed an allergic reaction to ice, which she might have done, just to spite me.

I’d be the envy of my neighborhood when Agrippa and I went for a walk, and since I read somewhere how griffins have the ability to sense and dig gold up from the earth, I knew we’d be financially sorted for life. And we would totally rule the airways. That went without saying.

Yup. I saw it all clear as day and my plan was foolproof. Since my childhood predated the internet, I had to go to the New York Public Library with sheets of onion skin and trace pictures from mythology books and experiment with PlayDoh so I’d know how to sculpt Agrippa accurately, and knowing he’d be curious about his heritage, I constructed a fascinating family history that would have made any newly birthed mythological creature proud.

As I collected tins of the first snow and carefully hid them in the freezer, I knew the world was finally mine and I was destined to live the most incredibly awesome life ever imagined, and nothing could have prevented it…

Until I discovered the hard way that refrigerators came equipped with a defrost feature. All my carefully stacked magically imbued briquettes had been reduced to not-so-magical freezer run-off that dripped impotently into a catch tray.

Needless to say, I have yet to bring Agrippa into existence. And life, well, it hasn’t quite reached that most incredibly awesome high watermark yet.

But this year’s snow hasn’t fallen yet in my neck of the woods, so here’s hoping I can still lay my hands on those old tracings…

30 responses to “12 Plays of Christmas: A Tin of Snow

  1. Were I to make a Christmas list this year, it would most certainly include an animal buddy in the top spot. I’ve had pets before, o’ course (being a farm kid meant having animals running around all over the place), but I haven’t had that kind of companion for many years, and where I currently live, pets are not allowed. I may never set the bar so high as to dream of a griffin pal, but heck, I’d settle for a hydra for the sheer bathtub hi-jinx… 😀 This was fun tale, Rhyan. Don’t give up on Agrippa just yet. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • My thinking at the time was, if I was going to create an animal from scratch, sure a dog or black bear or kangaroo would have been nice…but can they really stack up to a griffin (plus, I wanted the gold)? A hydra would have been cool but I’d feel a little self-conscious every time I went to use the bathroom. All those eyes on me (“Hey, buddy, whachoo doin’ there?”) would have made me pee and poo shy.

      If it’s any consolation, I can’t have pets where I am either (but I’d like to see my landlord try to kick a griffin out onto the street)

      Thanks, as always, for the comment, Mike.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You are very welcome to borrow my golden retriever Casper.

    He’s a liability, it’s dustbin day and he’s at his most woofy. He’s not a fan of the bin lorry, I’m not a fan of the woofyness.

    I’d love a time out preferably by someone who would walk him as I have a dodgy foot right now and nobody else does.

    It would only be a borrow though as we have a mutual worship thing going on and I rather adore him. Just don’t tell him that 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m a little long in the tooth for boy adventures, but if Casper wanted to go walkies while I went grocery shopping or to the laundromat, he’s more than welcome to join me and he could be as woofy as he wanted to be, heck, I might even join him.

      Cheers for the loan and the comment!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I don’t blame you for wanting an animal adventure companion. The way they look at you when you come home, it’s like you’re the returned messiah. They love you no matter what you are, who you are, what you look like… how can you not love them?
    I second the emotion of not giving up on Agrippa. Get your pet, get your gold, get the live you deserve! Great write!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. When you finally create Agrippa, the first thing you should do is get him to fly you to the North Pole and pay Santa a little visit to discuss why he ignored all your letters. That would be at the top of my To Do List.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. When my son first asked me if we could get a doggie I told him, “Not until you can buy one with your own money and take care of it.” and I noticed he started saving up his allowance so I gave in and we’ve had a dog now for 4 years, and are thinking about getting another one.
    Nice share! I like the Christmas stories so far!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The day my dog passed away I was in the shower and she starts scratching and crying at the door so loud I had to get out and see what was up, it’s like she knew it was her last day and she just wanted to be with me as long as she could. I held her in my arms until her last breath, she didn’t cry or weep. She went so peacefully because I was able to hold her and keep her comfortable. It blows my mind the connection dogs have with us, all they know is love and I’m sorry that you didn’t get to feel that companionship as a boy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sorry for your loss, Fernando, but the important thing is that you were there for her at the end when she needed to be comforted and there wasn’t anything more she could have asked for. A touching story. Thanks for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. We have a spot of difficulty divorcing ourselves from our literary habits, no? Good Christmas read. I wanted a pet like Hobbs (of Calvin and Hobbs). I’m about to give up on it, though. Maybe a griffin wouldn’t be a bad idea. Imma run to Lowe’s (the big boy toy store) and see don’t they got one in the yard and garden section.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Under the category of “Damn, Why Didn’t I Think Of That?” the creative team of David Pepose and artist Jorge Santiago, Jr. produced a comic book series named, “Spencer & Locke,” which was an homage to Calvin & Hobbs. Here, Spencer (Calvin) is an adult as well as a detective and his partner, Locke (Hobbes) is his talking panther imaginary friend. The story begins with him trying to solve the brutal murder of his childhood sweetheart (I don’t remember the little girl’s name from Calvin & Hobbes).

      Let me know if the Lowe’s thing works out.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I think you should continue to work on this, Rhyan. Childhood dreams must never die. Get that snow and start stuffing that freezer. I hope it’s large enough for the snow creature you have in mind. I think pets won’t stand the competition. A nice one. Love these holiday-themed tales. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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