Playing in the Snow

The Williams House; Chapter 6: Winter Wonder; Pgs. 136-138

.     The day went splendidly. There is nothing like several rounds of snow fights in the morning to stir ones blood and bring health and liveliness to one’s face. Several families soon arrived after the Bentleys, and the children greeted them all in turn with a snowball barrage. Boys were laughing heartily and girls were cheering merrily, the sound of dozens of voices in perfect harmony rising around the little hillside.
.     At about 11:00, some of the girls went in to rest, with some of the younger boys. (Timothy stayed out.) Hot cocoa was served to those who entered, and those who stayed outside called themselves the “hardy stock,” refusing to acquire their warm drinks until lunch time. It had been ages since the Williamses had used their muscles so hard, and it was badly needed, for Johnathon could not remember using his energy so much since they had cleared the leaves away, which had been close to a month ago.
.     When lunch was served, everyone else traipsed indoors, and the Williams’s house became filled with snow suits, waterproof coveralls, hats, mittens, and gloves, ski masks, large boots still dripping with slush, and many, many hot faces that were red from the hard play outdoors. The meal, in keeping with the winter season, was the best chili that you could possibly imagine, with steaming hot meat pies, and warm chocolate fudge and sugar bread cookies for dessert. The “hardy stock” now enjoyed their hot mugs of cocoa, and the conversation buzzed for an hour or so as everyone filled themselves after their morning excursions.
.     The outdoors was now covered with footprints and many boot tracks. Many chains of snow angels lay along the ground, with some of them marred by thrown snowballs and tracks. Several snowmen were scattered throughout, and a couple rather large snow walls now formed a sort of embankment.
.     Several of the boys and girls then decided to stay indoors, the grand meal having something to do with it. The little old cottage (which we all know by now was not quite so little) was just as interesting to most as the outside, and it is harder to put on snow gear after it has already been used a lot in a day and is still dripping from its prior use. In fact, that was how the fight began.
.     It all started in one of the guest rooms on the second floor, when some had just decided to stay indoors the remainder of the day. Others were more restless, and someone (I shall not put the name down here) decided to throw a pillow at someone else. A small kerfuffle immediately started, which soon grew. Timothy joined within the first sixty seconds and was at the heart and center of it all. It was a marvelous way to exercise the remainder of one’s energy without having to face the cold wind in one’s face. Will and Johnathon made the game organized, with everyone holding their own pillow and having their own corner in which they could retreat to at any time.
.     “My face must be beet red,” said Johnathon after a while. “Why not go outdoors for a little bit to cool off?”
.     With that, Will and Johnathon decided to go outdoors once more for the day. “It will probably be a while before we get this chance again,” said Will as he put on his snow boots.
.     Both of them took two machetes (which had been dulled so as not to be too dangerous) and walked back outdoors. A cloud cover had taken over the sky, and the sun was now well hidden among them, making the snow look more like well-packed sand among the trees. Margaret, Susan, and Maria followed the boys out among the snowmen. Then Will and Johnathon began making large balls, as though to make another snowman. When the balls became large enough, they started carving them, until they had two magnificent looking chairs, with armrests each.
.     “You see,” said Will. “Now we can sit in the snow and enjoy the outdoors in peaceful observance.”
.     Susan and Maria had the privilege of sitting in the first chairs until the boys had more made. And soon, there were a great many chairs with many people sitting among them, looking up at the snow-covered trees and gazing at the work they had so heartily engaged in throughout the day.

Snow Melting in the Park

The Williams House; Chapter 9: The First Hints of Spring; Pgs. 166-167

.     All the children bounded out of the bus the moment it parked. The ground was still covered with snow except for several snaking trails that had been cleared. But it wasn’t a very cold snow, and many trudged through it with the warm sun at their backs. Several whoops and shouts rang through the air in their delight. Then everyone stood and thought of what game they could play.
.     “We really can’t play any of our usual running games,” said Ann, “because there’s still so much snow on the ground.”
.     “And how slushy it is, too,” said Timothy as he took a step off the cleared concrete path into a snow bank. “I wonder why it hasn’t all melted.”
.     “It’s melting,” said Will, “but it will take a while to melt yet. And all the water will turn to ice during the nighttime.”
.     “I say,” said Ann, “isn’t this perfect tree tapping weather?”
.     “Yes,” said Lilly, “we’re going to start tomorrow; I heard Mum say so. We normally start sooner, but the long winter will probably throw everything off schedule.”
.     “Wait! I have an idea,” said Johnathon. “Why not try to fly a kite? We should have the makings for several in the Flying Carpet, and the breeze should be enough, don’t you think?”
.     “It’s only a slight breeze,” said Lilly, “but it might work.”
.     Will went back to the bus to carry out the makings, and he was put in charge of constructing them. Some of the other olders helped, with the younger girls playing on the path and looking at the process every now and then. Meanwhile, Mrs. Williams was reading a book as she paced the paths, looking back and forth from the landscape to the words on the pages in front of her. She could hear Johnathon shouting “Pull harder!” as she saw all the children running in the distance and trying to make a kite fly.
.     “I am,” said Timothy in earnest. “It’s not working.”
.     “Let me have a look,” said Will. “Perhaps I didn’t put it together right.” He tried a go, but all the kite did was flop around a little before skidding along the ground.
.     Several attempts were made without success, and Lilly was about to suggest giving up the idea and playing something else. Johnathon was just trying as she was speaking, and before she finished her sentence, a sudden gust of wind swept over the land.
.     “Run, run!” everyone shouted to Johnathon, and he ran with all his might, the kite flying up into the sky with a leap and a bound.

Audio Continuation of Story; Pgs. 168-170

A Night in the Attic Before Thanksgiving

The Williams House; Chapter 5: Uncles, Aunts, Nephews, and Nieces; Pgs. 126-129

.     It was a long time later when several people started to file into their bedrooms. The uncles and aunts did a good job at tracking down their own children and preparing them for sleep. As for the Williams children, they were soon directed for sleep themselves, only the boys could not seem to settle down at first.
.     “Let’s talk for a little while,” whispered Will. “Everyone will probably sleep in, anyway.”
.     “No one can hear us, that’s for sure,” said Johnathon. “Do you think it’s snowing yet?”
.     “I think it is,” said Will. “This will probably be the first time Oliver, Tabitha, Orla, or Isaac have seen and felt this much snow.”
.     “You mean they’ve never been sledding?” asked Timothy.
.     “Neither had you till we moved here,” said Will.
.     “I say,” said Johnathon, “it is great to sleep in the attic. What an adventure!”
.     “Isn’t it, though,” said Will and Timothy.
.     “I ate too much sugar to go to sleep, though,” continued Will. “What books do we have up here?”
.     A lamp was turned on, and the boys shuffled around a little. The dim light shined murkily out and shone on several books on a shelf and scattered elsewhere throughout the attic.
.     “What about on the shelf by the chimney,” said Will who was still in bed.
.     Johnathon walked over to the shelf, putting his hand on the warm stone that was radiating heat into the room. “Several good titles here,” he said as he started going through them one at a time. Then he started listing them by author to save time. “We have Burnett, Nesbit, Dickens, Dodge, Stephenson, Lewis, Henty—”
.     Will interrupted and suggested one of the titles, and soon Johnathon had brought over the book.
.     “Do you think it’s all right?” asked Timothy.
.     “We might as well do something if we’re already wide awake,” said Will, “and it could help us to fall asleep.”
.     Johnathon and Timothy slunk back to their makeshift beds and rolled themselves up in their covers, exchanging excited glances with one another. The wind continued to blow against the side of the house, and they could tell it was definitely sleeting now, yet the attic was warm from the chimney and furnace vent, and the murky light of the lamp cast a dim light about the long expanse of the room.
.     Will started reading, imitating perfectly an old British accent, as though telling his life’s long tale. It was nearly an hour later when the murky glow of the lamp shone down upon three sleeping forms, Will still holding the book in his hands.
.     “Wake up, wake up!” whispered a voice, shaking Will from side to side.
.     Will sat up with a jerk, looking about the room in a single glance. A dim grayness was lighting up a little of the outside. “What time is it?” he said as he looked for the clock.
.     “Seven,” said Timothy, “and you left the light on last night. I just switched it off.”
.     “Oh, thank you, Cap!” said Will. “But why wake me? Everyone will probably be asleep for a couple more hours.”
.     “Look outside,” said Timothy. “It’s white.”
.     “So it is,” said Will strangely as he rose from bed. “Just look at it shine.” Then Will looked over at Johnathon and saw him still sleeping. A mischievous gleam entered Will’s eye, and he mouthed and motioned to Timothy. They both crept over to the window and opened it. Then they reached out to the short ledge and took some of the snow off from it, quickly closing the window with a slight squeak. Both cringed, but Jonathon only stirred slightly and then resumed his normal breathing.
.     Will crept over to Johnathon’s bed, raising his hand and throwing the snowball plop onto Johnathon’s face. Yes I know, this is the second time that Johnathon has woken up coughing and spluttering in this story. Let us hope it is the last. In any case, after the laughter and explanations, all three boys moved over to the window and looked out, gathering as much snow on the outer sill as possible.

Audio Continuation of Story; Pgs. 129-130

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Winter Wonder – Book Scene

The Williams House; Chapter 6: Winter Wonder; Pgs. 134-137

.     The day was to be a break from school. Many families were to come over for a declared “snow day” to whet the appetite for the coming Christmas vacation in a few weeks. It was also a badly needed break from exercising the mind so much and using the cramped muscles that had been kept indoors so often over the last several weeks. The Williams children had to hustle through their morning chores before heading outdoors. Lilly and Ann helped dress the youngers, and their mother made sure they were all suited warm enough before they all headed outside.
.     “Now,” said Will, “everyone line up, and follow me around to the back of the yard.” He paused as he took on quite a different air. Then he began narrating. “The general is leading his unruly subordinates out to the battlefield.”
.     “Unruly subordinates?!” repeated Johnathon and Timothy in distain, but there was a gleam in their eyes.
.     Will pretended to take no notice of them. “He marches bravely forward,” he continued, “and the lazy soldiers behind him could hardly keep up.”
.     “Lazy?!” exclaimed Johnathon and Timothy, and at the same time, Lilly and Ann shouted “Soldiers?!”
.     “We’re the queens of this castle,” said Lilly.
.     “And anyway,” said Johnathon, “subordinates or no, the soldiers do not take kindly to the label of laziness.” He picked up a snowball and casually tossed it into the back of Will’s head before anyone could say “knife!”
.     Will laughed. “It’s just for fun,” he said, “and you both can be the generals tomorrow and call me whatever you like. So remember to play along for today. All right girls, you can be the ‘Molly Pitchers’ if you will. Come along, everyone!” And he flung himself forward.
.     Everyone started pushing a lot of snow with their hands and arms, making a sort of wall. “It’s hard, Will,” said Maria as she collapsed after about five minutes of hard pushing.
.     “You can rest,” said Will. “The Bentleys will probably be here in another ten minutes. Let’s try to build another barricade for the snow wars we will be having shortly.”
.     “Come along, Susan,” said Ann. “Don’t drag so— isn’t this fun? It’s the first big time we’ve had out in the snow this season, with the exception of the cousins. But that was only a few inches.”
.     Will led the group around to a slight slope. Sunlight was beaming down on all eight of them as they pushed several loads of snow with their coat-covered forms. Soon, several of them were taking off some of their snow gear, and just about that time, other voices were heard yelling at them, and they could see that the Bentleys had arrived.
.     The day went splendidly. There is nothing like several rounds of snow fights in the morning to stir ones blood and bring health and liveliness to one’s face. Several families soon arrived after the Bentleys, and the children greeted them all in turn with a snowball barrage. Boys were laughing heartily and girls were cheering merrily, the sound of dozens of voices in perfect harmony rising around the little hillside.
.     At about 11:00, some of the girls went in to rest, with some of the younger boys. (Timothy stayed out.) Hot cocoa was served to those who entered, and those who stayed outside called themselves the “hardy stock,” refusing to acquire their warm drinks until lunch time. It had been ages since the Williamses had used their muscles so hard, and it was badly needed, for Johnathon could not remember using his energy so much since they had cleared the leaves away, which had been close to a month ago.
.     When lunch was served, everyone else traipsed indoors, and the Williams’s house became filled with snow suits, waterproof coveralls, hats, mittens, and gloves, ski masks, large boots still dripping with slush, and many, many hot faces that were red from the hard play outdoors. The meal, in keeping with the winter season, was the best chili that you could possibly imagine, with steaming hot meat pies, and warm chocolate fudge and sugar bread cookies for dessert. The “hardy stock” now enjoyed their hot mugs of cocoa, and the conversation buzzed for an hour or so as everyone filled themselves after their morning excursions.

Audio Continuation of Story; Pgs. 137-138

Joshua Reynolds on Conservative Cornerstones – Author of Children’s Books / Family Stories – Finding Conservative Thought in Olde Books. Check out my Authoring Conservatism Post. Look up my two books, The Williams House and Treasure on the Southern Moor in my bookstore!