coldest but the snowiest capital of the world (around 200 cm per year), meant adopting a lifestyle where bulky one-piece snowsuits severely limited your range of movement and after spending ten minutes getting it on; the certainty the sudden urge to pee would hit the moment the zipper was pulled up.
One got used to voices muffled with scarves, perpetually runny noses and rosy cheeks. The good thing about mittens was you could make a fist inside them with all your fingers together for warmth. The only bad thing about mittens was when you first started wearing them and your mom gave you the ones with the string connecting them that ran inside your sleeves so you wouldn't lose them. We called them "idiot mittens" and they were booby trapped. The theory was if one mitten was off and one on, if someone pulled on the loose one it would make your other hand hit you in the nose.
And as the season went on the snowbanks became taller than you and walking along their tops became the favorite way to walk to and from school. After school meant building snow forts for snowball fights against imaginary marauders and odd-looking snowmen. Or lying in the snow thrashing arms and legs about to make snow angels and contests to see how far you could slide down the patch of ice in front of your house without crash landing (sliding with feet sideways worked best). And weekends meant throwing toboggans into the station wagon and throwing yourself down snow covered hills. Of course, memories would not be complete without images of ice skating outside (not in some arena) on the school rink and pickup games of hockey on shoveled ponds.
It was a wonderful time of the year back then. One wonders, as we grow older and wiser, what happened to winter? It seems to have become quite the bother. Unless one is looking out at it from inside a warm room beside a roaring fireplace...