John and I recently went snowboarding on Mt. Washington. Mt. Washington, Vancouver Island. The sun was out, but it was cold. So cold, that by the time we reached the top of the mountain, we had covered our faces. I learned the importance of protecting exposed skin from extremely low temperatures at the ripe old age of eight. At that time, we lived in Bentley, Alberta. Despite Bentley’s bitterly cold winters, we kids still spent hours outside playing. The day I learned my lesson, was no exception. After skating on a frozen pond for the entire afternoon, I remember heading back to my house, shedding my snow gear and running into the bathroom.
Me: OH! NOOOOOO!!!!!! MY NOSE!!! MY NOSE!!!!! AIEEEEEEEEE!!!!
Mom: What? What? What’s wrong?
Me: It’s my nose! Look!
Mom: Jesus Christ Shelley. You scared the Hell out of me. Unless you’re dying, don’t you ever make that kind of noise again.
Me: I. Am. Dying.
Mom: Oh for God’s sake. In a few minutes it will soften and the colour will change from waxy white to red. You’ve been through this before.
Me: Wahhhhh!!!!!!! It’s turning hard and black.
Mom: Let me see. Ahhh… You’re right.
Me: What am I going to do?
Mom: There’s not much you can do. You’ll have to let it run it’s course.
Me: But it’s so ugly.
Mom: You can barely notice it.
Me: I CAN!!!!!!!!
Mom: Shelley. Stop making a fuss. It will be better in a couple of days.
Me: But tomorrow’s Monday. Which means school. I’m not going.
Mom: Of course you are. You can’t miss school because of a frozen nose.
Me: But as soon as the kids see me, they’ll make fun of me. They’ll call me Rudolph.
My sister, Shannon: Rudolph!
Me: Shut up!!!!! See????
Shannon:… the red nosed reindeer…
Mom: Shannon! Stop it. Shelley! Rudolph did not have frostbite.
Shelley: I don’t care. I’m not going.
Mom: You are going to school. I’ll call the teacher and ask her to tell the kids not to say anything.
Me: A lot of good that will do. She won’t be around for recess. I’m still not going.
Me: Oh no I’m not.
Mom: Now listen here… What the Hell? Stephen, Shenley, what’s in your hands?
Stephen: Coins. We dug them up in the basement.
Shenley: With our diggers.
Me: You can’t make me.
Mom: I sure as Hell can. Boys, you need to pass mommy those coins. They are special collector’s coins. Daddy and I buried them to keep them safe.
Stephen: But we found them. That means they’re ours. Right, Shenley?
Me: If you loved me, you wouldn’t make me go.
Shannon: I’m not going to school if Shelley doesn’t have to.
Mom: God damn it! Both of you are going to school. And you two boys are going to give me back those coins. That’s the end of it.
But it wasn’t.
The battle raged on for hours, days, weeks. I’m kidding. But, you get the picture. Eventually, I agreed to go to school. Only because I thought of a way to slip into my classroom without drawing attention to my nose.
Based on stories from my childhood.
Shelley and John