Ice fishing and igloo building, oh my.
These were my two favourite things as a child enjoying winter in Houston.
My brother and I would bring our Mickey Mouse tackle box with us, all suited up in one piece snow gear, and waddle our way onto the frozen lake as we watched our dad test the depth of the ice with a manual ice drill.
There was always something exciting about the ice drill breaking through and seeing the slushy ice water soup around the opening.
Who could forget the infamous snot and thumb-sucking frozen mittens, that still retained durability after multiple generations of being handed down? They don’t make clothes like that anymore.
My favourite year was when my dad was building an igloo and a backyard ice rink. My brother and I would ask him every day, “What are you making, dad?”
To which he’d always reply, “What do you think?”
He never budged at giving us a hint. So we watched him pile snow and run the green house with cold water on it, and clear off a section on the ground, flattening the snow, pouring more cold water, and repeat.
Then one glorious winter evening, dad told us to put on our helmets.
Once again, being more difficult than helpful in putting on our winter jacket and snow pants, in a confusion we put on our ice skating helmets and found ourselves in a winter wonderland city.
The igloo had candles in lined up inside with two presents, one for my brother and I. No idea what my brother, Joey, received. But I got that address book I had been eyeing up at the dollar store, back when it was still inside the Houston mall.
Somewhere in my mom’s photo collection there is a Polaroid picture of Joey and I grinning with missing teeth as we lied on our bellies inside our igloo.
You don’t need much to make you happy. Getting to skate and play ice hockey in your backyard was the best thing to show off to your friends when you were seven years old.
In the day and age of portable game consoles, I’m glad to see my generation pass down our winter heritage to their children.