I know. I know. People tell me I’m an optimist. A bit too cheery, perhaps. Zipp. Doo. Dah. Okay. Fine. But events in our neighborhood (Portland and Cleveland avenues east of the library) deserve some Scroll time this week, especially considering the bad press our student-neighbors have gotten this semester.

It was a snowy, cold winter eve last Sunday. The weather outside was frightful. The fire in our fireplace was absolutely delightful. But as if we had no place to go, we bundled up and stumbled out the front door as a family to do our neighborhood obligation: stringing lights, an effort to brighten the smiles of those passing by.

Hovering over the boxes of tangled goods, my husband suddenly looked confused: “What’s that?” He was referring not to the mess of white and red lights – which looked much like a plate of spaghetti – but to the robust sounds of holiday tunes from somewhere near by.

“It’s the college students down the way,” I exclaimed (with a zippity tone, of course). “They’re frolicking in the snow!”

And indeed they were, to the backdrop of familiar tunes pumped out of their window (sing along!): “Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow . . .,” “Rockin’ around the Christmas tree . . .” and “Oh what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh-eh …”

On our end of the block, as we plugged and strung and twisted and climbed, we delighted in the sounds of both the music and the students’ laughter, distracted only by the whining of our own children. They were “freezing” and had “numb fingers” and repeatedly requested “hot chocolate” and “are we done yet?” The sheer glee of our college student neighbors, however, filled us with glee. Ah, going out to play in the snow. It just gets all the more sweeter as we get older, doesn’t it?

As I strolled to campus the next morning, daylight revealed the students weren’t just frolicking. They were busy constructing the first-of-the-season neighborhood snow sculpture: a sort of 21st century snow-being, aptly equipped with some of life’s essential conveniences: cable TV, a cooling device (global climate change, you know) and a reading lamp (final exams are just around the corner, of course).

We, kids and adults alike, have been seen smiling brightly as we caught a glimpse of Mr./Ms. Snowperson on Portland this week. Great work, neighbors.

Now, get back to studying. Final exams are very near, indeed.

Snow person on Portland web

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5 Responses

  1. Rita Kovtun, St. Paul

    Loved this little snippet, Dr. Bruess. Playing in the snow really does get sweeter as we get older.:) Oh, and I’m definitely going to miss COJO 111!

  2. Mary Ann, Eden Prairie

    I heard his name is Billy the Blob. I love him! Makes me miss my college days. Enjoy every minute of your college days, they are the best. Thanks for making me smile.

  3. Molly Baatz, St. Paul

    Dr. Bruess, I agree with Jackie, as a fellow COJO 111 student, about your wonderful optimism! I love this cheerful post.

    P.S. The snowperson’s name is Billy the Blob :)

  4. Jaclyn Kartak, St. Paul

    Dr. Bruess, you are an optimist. And I love it. Your cheery attitude can brighten my day in a matter of minutes, sometimes seconds. I love this posting. Not all of us college students deserve a bad rap, and you take the time to say something positive. Thank you.

  5. Liz, St. Paul

    It looks like a friendly Jabba the Hut…from south of the border! Love it. Thanks for sharing.

    P.S. Spunkiness – unite!