A beautifully told story with colorful characters out of epic tradition, a tight and complex plot, and solid pacing. -- Booklist, starred review of On the Razor's Edge

Great writing, vivid scenarios, and thoughtful commentary ... the stories will linger after the last page is turned. -- Publisher's Weekly, on Captive Dreams

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

TOF and the Snow

When TOF was a mere TOFling, his father took him one day to visit the GrandTOF. An elderly man of perhaps more than 50 years. When he was a child, the Wright Brothers flew at Kitty Hawk. Before he died, he would watch on his TV while men walked on the Moon. His first job as a kid involved taking care of rented horses. Two years later, it was rented automobiles.

TOF was complaining, as TOFlings were wont to do, regarding his interminable walk to school -- in the Snow. Now this walk was six blocks, but that is a much longer distance when the legs are shorter. It must have been a mile, at least. TOF especially bemoaned the last four blocks coming home, which were up a hill steeper than El Capitan, or so it seemed, and the snow piled higher than the Matterhorn.

Mon Pere listened to this and shook his head. "That's nothing," he instructed TOF. "When I was your age, I had to walk in snow up to here, indicating with his hand how high it had been piled, or was being piled. School was at least two miles away and the hill down Stockton St. apparently needed ropes and pitons.

The GrandTOF listened to all this and then commented in his basso profundo, chopping his right hand tomahawk-fashion, as was his wont, to time his words. He looked at Pere and said, "Are you crazy? You kids had it so soft! Why, when I was a kid..." And so the school receded farther away and the snow (or something) grew ever deeper. What his father would have said, we shall never know.

As near as TOF can reckon from these data, the previous Ice Age ended about a hundred years ago, just as the world began shrinking. 


  1. ...and if you tell that to the young people today, they won't believe you..."

    1. Younger Person: Wait, you walked to school?!? Why didn't you take the bus?

      Christi pax.

    2. I took the bus to high school, which was several miles out of town. I caught the Berwick St. bus a block away by cutting through the neighbor's yard. Then got off at Centre Square and walked up to Fourth St., where I caught the inter-city bus toward Bethlehem along the William Penn Highway. I got off at Green Pond Road and walked down the hill to the school.

      We had student bus passes which the driver punched so we wouldn't have to dump coins in the meter.

  2. Somehow or other, my dad's walk to school, which was at least five miles (but tended to get longer the older he got), was uphill both ways. And he had to walk through snow over his head at 5AM to start the fire for when the other kids arrived. . .

    1. Well, back then the fabric of space-time hadn't stabilized yet, so the gravity could be experienced as "uphill" in both directions.

  3. Indeed, my late Mother's hike to school, as a girl, was ten miles each way, uphill both ways, through snow over her head.

    And she had to carry the horse!


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