Friday, 11 October 2013

The Word-a-day Writing Challenge

Day Eighteen: Hand(s)

It snowed heavily that year, and early. By halloween we had waist-high snowbanks and salt-crusted boots, city wide. Little Ninja Turtles in snow suits and little princesses in parkas scrambled up slippery steps with bags full of loot as snowballs whizzed towards unsuspecting targets.

We received the most snow days on record that winter, and hardly a week went by without one. I could tell from the light sneaking in through the blinds if I was going to school or not, the orange glow of the street lamps gleaming off a blanket of road. If the plough had already gone by, it could go still either way and the only thing to do was wait for Donny. I would leap out of bed, race down the hall, and, with a sock-footed sliding turn at the pantry, saddle up next to the old radio that lived on top of the microwave, its bent antenna reaching vaguely towards space while black electrical tape held shut the door of the tape deck.

Donny-in-the-morning did the drumroll at precisely five to seven. I remember meeting him once at The Empty Stocking Fund pledge drive where all the grade school kids and all the choirs had to sing Christmas carols to raise money for the Salvation Army. Afterwards they gave you candy canes and sometimes you got to meet famous people like Donny.

I couldn't believe the size of him. He lumbered through the studio like a bear through a backyard, except with a lot more wheezing and sweat. Everything about him overflowed—his neck over his shirt, his shirt over his pants, his ankles over his shoes. His great, thick hand swallowed mine whole when he reached out with the widest, most genuine grin in Saint John, and shook it. On the radio though, he was spry and weightless, and his dexterous drumroll brought every child in the city to the edge of their seats.

GEEEEEEeeeet yer sleds out kids and BUUUUuundle up, his thundering voice would call out. It's another white and wonderful day in the port city this morning! You could feel the cheers erupting from one corner of the city to the other, behind double-paned windows and tightly shut doors. District seven, district nine, district eleven—you know who you are—you're staying home today. District five, down Pennfield way, you're in on this one too. You been down there lately, Jack? I was down in the summer with the missus, down to Hawkins blueberry farm there, just off the highway at Pennfield Corner, and if they don't have the best blueberries for a pie, I don't know who does. District sixteen! District twenty-one, get out there and build me a snowman. Best snowman I see on the way home gets a shout out tomorrow morning. Heh-heh-heh, eh Jack?—

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