snow babies

so we’re at my sister’s place in columbia, s.c., for the holidays. her
roommate, who owns the house, is the 40-year old Iraq War veteran who
is currently in New Zealand. my parents are in from japan and its like
old times. almost. the main thing that is not at all like old times is
the collection of Snow Babies in the living room. do you know what
these snow babies are? the ultimate in white power toys, these are
little carved babies which appear to be in fuzzy onesies, playing
outdoors and doing holiday type stuff. each one stands alone, capturing
the scary contradictions of christmas and winter – one has an american
flag in hand. another has angel wings and drags heart-shaped balloons
behind it. one piece is two snow babies sitting on a tree trunk
apparently having a deep conversation. as soon as i got into the house
and had a moment alone, i turned all the snow babies so they were
facing away from the room, facing the wall. they scare me, to be
honest. one by one my family members noticed that all 30 snow babies
had been turned around. well actually  first i laid them all down. they
noticed that. then i turned them to the wall – everyone thinks its
funny, and no one grasps that things like snow babies – much like the
precious memories decorations my freshman roommate loved, or any other
collectible items that ride that scary line between toy and perverted
obsession, frighten me!

so then today we are at my grandparents for a while for my mother’s
birthday lunch, and they bring out her gifts, and one of the gifts –
from her sister who thankfully wasn’t present – was…you guessed it! a
snow baby! it was sitting in a chair with a mouse on top of the chair,
reading the night before christmas. a blur of thoughts raced through my
mind: does my mom secretly like snow babies? is my aunt stark raving
mad? am i laughing out loud?


now its time to go see the other snow babies, the marvelous brilliant babies of my crackhead aunt, who is the sweetest woman when you meet her, just a bit wild around the eyes. this is always the best, and hardest visit of all.