Annie’s  favorite time of year is winter.    Whether she is curled up on an electric blanket in a heated bed in front of a fire with a cup of hot mouse milk and some crunchy bones or eyes or something weird she eats, or riding her sled down a hill we don’t have in the back yard in a bikini, Annie loves winter.

When the snow begins to fall out comes, ice skates, sleds, toboggans, snow shoes, but all of that stuff comes as each season passes.   Annie is known to go mudding in a snow covered old back road and riding her snowmobile through a hay field in July.   The only thing that changes really is her wardrobe.    Snow suits, odd mittens, hats with ear flaps, long undies, boots, coats all get put away and out comes shorts, tee-shirts, sunglasses, flip flops.

The weather had dipped into below zero temperatures, negative double digits!  I stood in front of the window wrapped in a blanket, a quilt, a heavy bathrobe, a coat, long johns, pajama pants 15 pairs of socks and a pair of snowmobile boots.   I looked for a hat, cause a hat keeps in the heat but Annie had used every single one of them to start her cat nip plants in.   She had even cut the hoods off coats.

The reason it was so cold was because Annie kept opening the windows.   She needed air she claimed; air she was allergic to, this on the day Maddie came for tea, and both of them wearing their oxygen masks  and roasting marsh mellows over lit candles.   I kept closing the windows, and Annie kept opening them.

It was a battle.   Annie nailed them open, I pulled the nails out and shut them.  Annie nailed them open again and hid all the hammers.   I sent grandfather to get a new one and hid it this time.    Annie resorted to gorilla glue.   Currently, grandfather was running an errand to some back woods guy who claimed to have a ‘receipt’ to dissolve it.   Duh-Wayne knew a friend, who knew a friend, who’s uncle had internet, and was peddling it for his brother’s aunt in law’s cousins, great great uncle.  Annie was laughing when grandfather left and screamed, “Have fun Paw!” then slapped her leg and yuck yucked out a laugh.   I was worried.

It was snowing and snowing hard.   Ann and Annie Jr. were loading a snow man they had made into a wagon.   “Is it cooled down?” Annie screamed to Duh-Wayne, who was standing in the kitchen, still dressed in his bathrobe, and hat with ear flaps.

“A yup!” Duh-Wayne yelled his words freezing the second they came out of his mouth.

“Then come help us drag this wagon up the stairs,” Annie hollered.

Up the stairs came , the Annie’s, Duh-Wayne, a wagon with a snowman in it.    “Christmas snow is magical Annie Jr.” Annie explained.  “Watch,” Annie said, putting a flower pot on top of the snowman’s head, because cat nap was growing in every single hat, except for Duh-Wayne’s and Annie was offering big money for it.

“Happy Birthday,” screamed the snowman.   Down the stairs they went, skating and marching around the yard singing.   Annie hooked, Duh-Wayne up to the ramshackle sleigh and quickly planted some more cat nip in his hat when he removed it to fasten on his antler.   Duh-Wayne pulled them all around while they sang jingle bells, then they made snow angles.    Duh-Wayne said his was a snow devil because his antler looked like a horn and angles didn’t have tails.

By the time grandfather returned, the sun was going down.    The ‘receipt’ was two gallon jugs full of aged moose made.    It worked and finally the windows were shut and everyone except me was gathered around the fire drinking warmed spiced mouse made.   I was in the kitchen mopping up buckets of snow man poop.

So they warmed and relax, that night after Christmas til, all through the house not a creature was stirring except Annie Jr. toy mouse.   I, in a snowsuit, with Annie Jr. cuddled to my chest had just settled down to a few minutes nap when out on the lawn there rose such a clatter, I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.    There they all were, Annie, Duh-Wayne and the gang out on the yard, with a snow fort and a boat, launching snow balls at each other.   I opened to window and tossed up the sash, then got smashed with a snowball.   Annie Jr. came laughing climbed over my head and ran out the window and into the crows nest of the ice boat that Grandfather was flinging solid ice balls at Duh-Wayne who was safely protected by ice walls.   Annie used her sling shot to fire something brown and wet at Grandfather, and it froze as it flew and landed hard as a rock on the poop deck of the boat.   Annie Jr. got the bright idea, to turn on the hose and squirt it towards Annie and Duh-Wayne’s fort.    An icy bridge was formed and Grandfather and Annie Jr. were half way to the fort, when Annie and Duh-Wayne decided to light a little fire and get some heat on the subject.   The rest was history.

Annie is charging $45 admission to skate in her junkyard and admire the beauty of her empire and watch her and Annie Jr. continue to open their dump trucks full of gifts.   Yes, Duh-Wayne found the big Mac but there was no meat in it.   He gave it to Aunt Paulie who Annie insists is a vegetablarian.


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