NOTE: This is an on-going story (in ten parts) entitled "The Blizzard Coat."
To become more familiar with this entry, be sure to read back posts that entail earlier "parts."
As a child, Annalie remembered sitting on a deflated, thread bare chair next to the fireplace in the crowded living room of her parent’s house. During the first snowy night of the season, her mother would creep into her daughters’ bedrooms and whisper them awake with the soft spoken sentence, “Girls, the angels are celebrating.” Her mother whole-heartedly believed that angels celebrated the coming of December twenty-fifth by continually dropping “winter pennies,” otherwise known as snowflakes, down to earth. The girls snuggled with their mother in the living room, huddled together in their blankets and sipped Mom’s Super Secret Hot Chocolate Recipe. They drifted back to sleep on the carpeted floor, warmed by the glow of the fireplace, and watched the winter pennies floated against the dark blue sky and collected in teetering layers on the bare arms of the trees outside.
Winter was the season of the Bailer women; summer made them irritable and irrational. In comparison, they weren’t cold and icy, so to say, as most people perceive the winter. These women were rather comforting, familiar, and even exciting at times. Winter always held the thrilling chapters of their lives.
Annalie’s parents, for example, were married the morning before the blizzard of ’68 that swathed the town in sixty-three inches of snow. Her mother told Annalie that they had spent their entire honeymoon snowed-in in a little shack a few miles down the road from her grandparents’ house.
In one of the few photo albums that her mother owned, Annalie discovered a picture taken during that time, which now stood in an oak frame and hung on wall in her own house. Her mother, short but slender with long dark hair draped across her shoulders, stood against the window frame, her brown turtle neck sweater contrasted greatly against the bright glare of the snow drift that covered half of the window. A faint smile played on her lips as she watched the never ending stream of thick snowflakes tumble to the ground. Once, her mother ran her finger softly across the aged picture while recollecting the story and sighed tenderly, “We felt protected, like Winter covered us in our little burrow and the world was completely our own. It kept us hidden until we were ready to see the world again.”
A few years later, Annalie’s oldest brother was born on a warm April day and her mother gave birth to Annalie’s two older sisters in the clammy summer months. Annalie was due in December, a guaranteed winter baby, and the idea of rushing to the hospital to give birth to another daughter under a sea of snowflakes sent excited chills down her mother’s spine. One November night, however, while washing the dishes, Annalie’s mother looked up, and outside the bleak window she witnessed the first winter pennies of the year fall down to earth. Almost immediately she went into an early labor. Annalie was her mother’s Snow Child, her very own winter penny; a noble title that all of her siblings were jealous.
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