The Gudgel Family Advent Calendar Day Three — “Let it Snow!”

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If you know me, you know I’m not so much a fan of winter. I prefer summertime, the top down on my Jeep, running in the sun, longer days in which to play and warm nights spent on the front porch. As a teacher, of course, I love the time off that I associate with summer as well, and the opportunities to travel and see the world. However, in keeping with the spirit of this series this Christmas season and thinking of what we’re thankful for, I would be mistaken if I didn’t express some gratitude for yesterday’s heavy snow.

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We awoke yesterday to storybook scenes of heavy snow piled high atop stressed tree branches, and before breakfast began I started in with my recently repaired snowblower. There are an awful lot of concrete I’m responsible for, and it took me well into the morning to get it cleared between the blower, the shovel, and a bag of ice melt. Once finished, I had scarcely gotten back inside and watched Sonja read How the Grinch Stole Christmas to the kids next to the tree before she asked “Would you like to build a snowman?” The response from our two toddlers was equal parts emphatic and affirmative.  We bundled them up and headed for the door.

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Unfortunately, the snow, heavy though it was, wasn’t quite wet enough for good snowman making. I showed Titus how to make a snowball, which worked but not well, before we abandoned the cause in favor of sledding in our steep front yard.

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I first scooped up Zooey and took her down the hill, and while Titus enjoyed watching I could tell he was scared. I think I’m going to be that dad that pushes his kids off of the diving board. After an unsuccessful bit of coaxing, I picked up my son and sat down atop the sled. His protests were halfhearted and insufficient in altering my course, and soon we were careening down the hill and onto the sidewalk. “Was that so fun?” I asked enthusiastically as we lay there, him atop me, in the snow. He grinned a little as he replied. “Yeah. Let’s never do it again.”  I didn’t make him go a second time. Soon we retreated back into the warmth.

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Back inside, Titus and Zooey tried hot chocolate for the first time. They both love chocolate, though Zooey seemed to enjoy the classic wintertime beverage far more than her brother. I had another cup of coffee.

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The rest of the day was equally perfect. We watched Peter Rabbit with the kids, which was honestly hilarious (I think I liked it more than they did) and had lunch. The kids took naps while I finished a book review, and then we watched the Chiefs game with our neighbors. Later, my friend Dave who now lives in San Antonio stopped by on his way north on business. We shared a glass of wine and I made dinner.

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The wine we shared was a 2014 Tamber Bey Cabernet Sauvignon from their Estate Vineyard in Oakville, objectively one of my favorite wines.  The wine is 95% Cab Sauv with equal parts Cab Franc and Petit Verdot doing their part to add to its formidable complexity. Hints of graphite and wet earth mingle amidst bold yet elegant dark fruit flavors, ranging from blackberry to plum, with just a touch of vanilla and tobacco on the finish. The wine is balanced yet favors fruit, while ample acidity and beautifully smoothed out tannins offer an elegant structure and pleasant mouthfeel. Gorgeous aromatics and the evidence of eighteen months spent on new French oak make this easy drinker stand out from the crowd. Dave and I sipped at it and caught up a bit while I cooked.  Using the elk hamburger a friend had given me, I put together a red sauce and served it over pasta. The wine paired brilliantly, I thought.

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Yesterday was a pretty terrific day, and the sort of relaxing weekend experience that makes it easier to get through tough weeks like the one ahead.  The Chiefs won. The Huskers won.  My fantasy football team won. I got to see a lot of friends, and I got to play in the snow with Sonja and the kids. Maybe winter isn’t as bad as I’ve always thought. Now if only we could get the snow to start falling on weekdays so they’d cancel school. I suppose I can be grateful either way.

Cheers to learning to appreciate the winter,

Mark

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