Jake is from Cairo. We spend Christmas Eve with my family and then travel down on Christmas Day to spend a few days with his family. Snow is coming, my father-in-law said to Jake on the phone. He hoped we were bringing gear. We did, although after last year, I figured we would never see snow again.
We had snow. About 8 inches. The band was so narrow that St. Louis, only 2 1/2 hours north, got no precipitation at all. We were in the right place, right time. That afternoon, we went to the levee (you remember the levees in Cairo, right? The flood of '11? Well, here's a different view). We sledded down the sides of the levee on an old Coca-Cola sign Jake's dad, Jeff, had rustled up from someone's shed or garage. They used them when he was a kid, too. Basically a big metal disk with a bit of a curve. Jeff flung us down the levee in pairs on that disk.
My nieces Claire and Ella came with, along with me and Jake and his parents and our kids. The light faded making the whole world snow-blue. Alone up on the levee, not letting anything interfere with the joy coursing through Billy's whole body as we head down the steep hill hurtling uncontrolled for the trees and cockleburs below.