Jim Murray

10 months ago · 3 min. reading time · visibility ~10 ·

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The First Snowfall & Other Fond Memories

The First Snowfall & Other Fond MemoriesLate November. The whole world is still carefully moving along. Citizens everywhere masked up to try their best to dodge the invisible bug.

It’s a strange world that this has become. Where absolutes seem to be replacing approximates. Where the things we worried about were just a few short months ago, are hardly even thought about now.

The first snowfall this season. Not even a centimetre where I live but it was enough to tell me winter is on the way. That’s OK though. There are very few places I need to go, and with the Plague and all, very few places I actually want to go.

Waiters in masks drop our restaurant dinners in the back seat of the van. Cashiers in stores wipe down their counter after every checkout. People around here get serious stink eye if they aren’t wearing a mask and wearing it properly. My wife has a glove she wears when she’s buying gas and wipes down her credit card when she’s done. The kids have put their kids in school and that’s the end of family dinners for a while. And so it goes.

The first snowfall limits me a bit in my $10,000 wheelchair, which you are not supposed to expose to the rain or snow. But there will be a certain amount of cheating on that score, I am sure.

I am using the winter to teach myself how to walk again after spinal surgery. Some days are better than others. This is no predicament for an A type personality. You spend a lot of time forcing yourself to go slow. Inches instead of feet. A little progress every week, as opposed to every day. Setbacks galore. And the drain on your energy is fierce.

But you muddle through. Because this is the only life you have, that you know of, and you try and make the most of it.

Maybe the first snowfall will help me slow down my expectations to something more realistic.

The first snowfall used to be exciting when I was a kid. It meant we were close to being able to start building a hockey rink, and freeze our asses off for the sake of the great Canadian pastime.

The first snowfall meant hopping cars on Jennette Street, which had a good place to hide. We would ride those cars as far as we could, and do it all day long. Cars all had chrome bumpers back then that you could grab onto. Not sure if hopping cars would be as much fun today, with all the molded bumpers and such.

It also meant earning extra money shoveling snow from the driveways of the old folks and the lazy ones. And being invited in for hot chocolate where you were regaled with stories of winters in Fort Erie from times way before you were born. Funny how that shoveling never seemed to be a chore when you were getting paid for it.

The first snowfall meant sledding and tobogganing at the Sugar Bowl down the street. Funny how that hill seemed so steep back then. Driving by it now, it doesn’t seem like any big deal of a slope at all. But perspectives change with age.

The first snowfall meant the beginning of skating and hockey at the arena. I was a goalie. Played against Bobby Orr one time. He scored 5 goals on me, and I’m sure he was being merciful. I did better at skating, where romances blossomed and exploded, mostly in that order.

81ed053f.pngThe first snowfall ushered in the winter, and one of the most spectacular things about it where I grew up, were the gusts that swept across Lake Erie and made spectacular waves and ice formations. There were places along the lake that would keep you out of the wind, but give you a front row seat for some of the most incredible displays of nature’s fury that I had ever seen. Funny how we could sit there and watch this for hours and never feel afraid, just awestruck. (The image you see here was shot by  Dave Sandford, an amazing nature & sports photographer). https://www.davesandfordphotos.com/

As we grow, the first snowfall slowly assumes a different meaning. It means the beginning of winter, with cold days and nights, seemingly incessant grey skies, snow, of course, in copious amounts, all of which have to be pushed around, something I am no longer allowed to do.

In the greater scheme of things, the first snowfall is all the more tolerable if you take your mind back to the time when it heralded a season that you loved as opposed to however you feel about it now.

jim out

f9cbb934.pngJim Murray is a writer, marketer, editorialist. reader, sports fan and TV watcher. He has been actively posting on social media since 1998. Jim is also a former ad agency writer and art director. He lives with his wife Heather in Canada on the Niagara Peninsula and does strategic and creative work for a small group of companies working to make a positive difference in the world.

My Current Blogs Include:

The Couch Potato Chronicles (Entertainment Opinion & Reviews (Book, TV, Movies, Sports, Web)

Brand New Day (Environmentally Conscious Products, Services & Processes)

Skinny Dipping In The Lava Flow (Social Commentary)

MurMarketing (Communications Advice)

I have also joined BizCatalyst 360˚ as a Featured Contributor

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Jim Murray

Jim Murray

10 months ago #7

Yeah, a couple winters ago the ice piled up really high at the mouth of the Niagara river. I went down and photographed it, and I was amazed at all the damage it did to the breakwall. Nature is not something to me messed with.

Jerry Fletcher

Jerry Fletcher

10 months ago #6

JIm, your mention of the lake's performance reminded me of being in Chicago in winter where the ice of lake Michigan would pile up on the shore a story or two high and the night air would be full of cracking a squeaking sounds. Sounds like a long road back for you and each step is a blessing. I'll be thinking of you. Best to you and yours for the holiday season.

Jim Murray

Jim Murray

10 months ago #5

Thanks Ken. I could have spent less, bnut was advised to get the best chair I could find. It really is my Harley and my sofa and my exercise room. Believe it or not I get back 75% of the cost, because I live in Canada. If I lived just 20 miles from here, I would be in debt up to my eyeballs.

Jim Murray

Jim Murray

10 months ago #4

Thanks for the words of encouragement and the story Ian. It's a hard road back with lots of potholes. All I can do is keep on pushing, and help my body heal. PS I needed to hear that story, especially these days when things have slowed to a crawl.

Ian Weinberg

Ian Weinberg

10 months ago #3

Hi Jim - being a spinal surgeon I refrained from engaging with you at a professional level. I'm sure you've received state-of-the-art intervention. At a personal level I was saddened to hear of your ordeal and hope that you recover useful function from the long rehab process. Just to encourage you a little, here is a case which I was involved with several years ago. She was a US Peace Corp worker in Africa and sustained a broken neck in a motor vehicle accident. When admitted to my clinic 24 hours later, she was quadriplegic. A cervical vertebra was smashed into her spinal cord. I took her to surgery, cleared the bone and then grafted and plated her. She was then flown to Boston for neuro-rehab. Her father was a physician in Hawaii. One year later she sent me a photograph of her jumping in the air and waving!!! I keep that photo in my briefcase as a reminder that even in the bleakest of situations the potential for meaningful recovery always exists. Best of wishes to you and yours over the Festive season.

Ian Weinberg

Ian Weinberg

10 months ago #2

Hi Jim - Being a spinal surgeon I've refrained from engaging professionally on the subject of your pathology. I'm sure you've received state-of-the-art intervention. At the personal level I was saddened to hear of your ordeal and hope that you recover some useful function. Just want to share a story with you which hopefully will add to your rehab efforts Several years ago I admitted a US Peace Corp worker with a broken neck and acute paraplegia resulting from a motor vehicle accident. One of the cervical vertebral bodies was smashed into the spinal cord. Statistically she had an extremely poor prognosis of recovering any neurological function. I took her to surgery, removed all the bone and noted at the time that although the spinal cord was swollen and nasty red, it was still intact. I graft and plated her. She was subsequently flown to Boston for neuro-rehab. Her dad was a physician in Hawaii. A year later she sent me a photo of her jumping in the air and waving !!! I keep that photo in my case- its a reminder that even in the most dire situations, the potential for recovery always exists. Best wishes to you and yours for the Festive season.

Ken Boddie

Ken Boddie

10 months ago #1

While you batten down the hatches, Jim, in anticipation of a white winter, here in Oz we’re preparing for the onset of summer and bushfire season, which has been mercifully mild and slow to spark up (pun intended) this year. Hope you’ve gotten over that fall I saw you mentioning somewhere on SM recently. As for that $10k wheelchair of yours, WOW. For that price I hope it comes with a Harley Davidson emblem? I trust you don’t rev it up driving round the locality, scaring the neighbours? 😂🤣😂

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