Two Words: SNOWDAY Childhood memories bring joy to winter.

The Little Things

By Jason Marshall

Boys play hockey on a frozen lake on a winter sunny daySome things in life defy explanation. The worst of these mysteries are also stressors. Look at winter. On the calendar it’s three months long. Same as spring. Fall. And summer. So why is there a dreadful feeling it will never end?
The first snowfall warms your heart, because it sets the stage for the Christmas season. Then you flip the calendar, and we’re smack dab in the heart of winter.
It’s dark when you go to work in the morning and dark when you leave the office. The needle on your backyard thermometer seems perpetually stuck in the minus-15 range. Without the windchill. And you spend more time with your snowblower than you do with your significant other.
That magical holiday feeling of mid-December snow has morphed into a desire to hibernate every time the forecast calls for more white stuff.
The winter blues are very real, and they take their toll on your mind and mood.
I’m no psychologist, though I do own the complete box set of the Bob Newhart Show. But my analysis has produced this conclusion: find joy and happiness where you can.
We’re not talking about a lottery win. Though lounging on a beach with a bottomless pina colada would go a long way to forgetting about the Canadian winter and whatever else causes you anxiety. Take this approach: anything that puts a smile on your lips, or helps you forget whatever is bothering you—those moments are priceless. Not to mention therapeutic. 

You can’t help but smile when you pull up to the drive-thru window and find out the person in front of you paid for your coffee. Or you’re at the pumps just as they drop the price of gas by a nickel. And think of that feeling when you reach into your jacket pocket and find a $20 bill you didn’t know was there.
Now these unexpected instances of enjoyment don’t have to involve money. Not at all.
How about when your dog meets you at the front door, tail wagging like an airplane propeller. Or you look out your window and see a brilliant red cardinal at your bird feeder.
If you embrace those moments of today, the blues simply dissipate.
Now draw on childhood memories when you didn’t need a big reason to celebrate. There’s your winter escape.
There was the prize at the bottom of the cereal box. Or looking under an RC Cola cap and winning a free pop. The best part was it was an RC Cola you bought with the money from the empty pop bottles you found in the ditch on the way to the store. 
School often conjures up memories of homework and tests. Yet there were days when two words changed your whole mood: substitute teacher. Or two even sweeter words: field trip. 
Oh, the joy you felt walking through the door and seeing a film projector set up in the middle of the classroom.
Even better was your local radio DJ saying the name of your school, officially declaring it a ‘snow day’. And on the day of the big math test, to boot. Then when you thought it couldn’t get any better, you discovered the snow was heavy and sticky. Perfect for snowballs and snow forts. 
Recall that day your mom finally said you could wear your sneakers to school and put your big boots away for the season. Around that same time, your dad pulled your bike out of the shed. No more lumbering everywhere on foot like Frankenstein’s monster.

The list of happy memories seems almost endless.
That excitement of your bobber going under the water.
Camping in the backyard. Roasted marshmallows included.
Watching someone get a dollar on Price is Right big wheel spin.
Saturday morning cartoons.
The ‘knock’ sound of a free game in pinball.
A sleepover.
Sunday evenings when Disney had a cartoon on instead of a movie.
When mail that came to the house with your name on the envelope.
Any episode of Mr. Dressup when he opened the Tickle Trunk.
And think back to your mom calling you into the kitchen to lick icing from the bowl or the beaters.
With your fond memories of simpler times, winter doesn’t stand a chance.
They may sound like little things, but they truly do make all the difference.  


Jason Marshall has been a writer and journalist for more than 30 years, and is an on-air host and station manager at Valley Heritage Radio just outside of Renfrew, Ontario. And he’s truly a big kid at heart. You can email him anytime at