The Sound of Snowflakes on Christmas Eve

by Ron Whitehead

1962. School was out for Christmas break. I was 12.

One afternoon, late, a little before dark, snow started falling.

It snowed all night.

Brad and I slept in the unfinished attic. Through the night

I listened to winter's wind whistling through the cracks in

our walls, I listened to winter's wind and snow weaving

songs accompanied by the cedar and pine trees

surrounding and protecting our home.

Before daybreak I heard Mama and Daddy downstairs,

Daddy loading the furnace with coal then going out the

back door headed to the barn to feed the animals, Mama

in the kitchen cooking breakfast. She was singing, quietly,

"Oh Christmas Tree." I smelled bacon and biscuits and

gravy and coffee. Yes I was already drinking coffee. Started

when I was 6.

I woke Brad up. Brad was a sound sleeper. I said "Hey,

wake up. Let's go see how much snow we got. Hey, get

up. We've got to go milk the cows, chop the ice on the

pond, and bring the coal in. Come on, Mama's cooking

breakfast. I'm going down."

Brad and I had breakfast with Mama and Daddy. As

always Mama's cooking was delicious. We ate every

crumb. Brad licked his plate.

Daddy left for work at the mines.

After Brad and I finished our morning chores I got my

.410 shotgun and went hunting.

It had snowed over a foot during the night and giant

flakes were still falling. The snow wasn't letting up.

I walked and walked and walked. I was in awe of the

beauty, all the beauty that surrounded me. I lost track

of time.

I found myself in a field surrounded by woods. All

round me the wind whispered through the limbs

the branches of the barren trees, the wind whispered

through the fur of the evergreen trees. A lone crow

cawed in the distance, searching its way home.

It was then I realized that I was hearing a sound

louder than any other, a loud but gentle and soft

sound, the sound of falling snowflakes.

That sound, that moment, comes back to me often,

including now, transporting me to a time and a

place long gone, but a time and a place that will

live eternally in me in my heart's memory.

copyright (c) 2006 Ron Whitehead