Today, I Built a Snow Fort

Living in western New York requires a hearty soul when it comes to weathering the weather. Every winter, Mother Nature throws her best punch at us. After lying mostly dormant this winter, she reminded us of her mood swings with a pummeling of snow that stopped drivers, closed roads and shut down businesses.  And some of us thought Spring was on the way.  Ha!

How do people along the Niagara Frontier handle Mother Nature with her long, dark winter nights, and mornings crisp enough to snap the nose off your face if you wiggled it? Only one way, we take what She’s blown at us and make it our playground.

We tug on long johns, wrap ourselves in downy coats, then race out-of-door to play, just as we did when some of us still could race.

Against cheek numbing winds, we schuss down snow-packed mountains on narrow flat boards. We clamp on snowshoes and break new trails in deep silent stands of nearby woods.

Dull skates and old sleds are rescued from dusty web covered garage lofts or backyard sheds. Blades and runners are honed and waxed to make perfect for gliding over new ice or flying down slick hills on our bellies.

The brilliant sunshine on a wintry day makes a frigid five degrees feel like a tepid ten. We are survivors!

Me, I call on a time when kids were always outside, playing games that strengthened our bodies and stretched our imaginations. Today, I built a fort in my backyard blanket of cold, cotton-like snow, a dugout snow fort.

My fort today was not unlike one I built back then, simple but strong. A mini fortress, big enough for a cadre of ruffians and a cache of snowballs, just in case real ruffians showed up, as they often did. And amid the screams and yells, and maybe a curse, was the splatting thud of snowballs finding arms and legs and an occasional noggin’.

Those snow castles gave us a place to escape, a place so cold that only the energy of our youthful exhuberance kept us warm, as a pint size ‘band of brothers’ huddled together, making plans for our next adventure.

And what better place to have that adventure than on a corner snow ‘mountain’, the high, hard packed hill of shoveled or plowed snow, perfect for a game of ‘King of the Hill’.

Winter is a great time to test our endurance, to demonstrate our vim, vigor and vitality. Come Spring, we will scratch a notch in our snowpant suspenders as a symbol of success against the elements. We shall prevail!

Today, I built a snow fort. And tonight, under the cold, star lit sky, I’ll climb a corner snow ‘mountain’ and declare myself, King of the Hill!

Dedicated to the kid in every adult, builders of snow forts, and those who challenge themselves in the great outdoors.

Published by


Retired in 2013 after 5 years as an elementary school teacher and 40 years as a sales representative to begin anew as a school crossing guard. SMy essays/stories are a way to communicate through the telling of personal experiences. One reader said about my blog stories, "...these are like a cold sip during a marathon run, simple, real life events". Another offered about my blog, “it brings some sense of normalcy not easily found in the modern world.”

32 thoughts on “Today, I Built a Snow Fort”

  1. Great .You jumped from a storyteller to a raconteur.I do not know of you van understand What I am trying to express, however it’s a compliment.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ah, I remember the time when I wasn’t afraid of the cold air and brisk winds, but I’m afraid these old bones feel the chill more than ever so I give into it and stay inside.  But, I enjoy your vivid remembrances of “heartier “days.  What fun they were.  Wonderful story again.  

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Where have you been? I haven’t seen any writings lately. Thanks for the kind note. By the way, we may get another blast next week. My snowshoes have come in handy.


    1. Thank you so much. I am so happy that you commented about the visual. When I write my ‘musings’, it’s as though I’m in the moment and I want the reader to feel the same. Damn it, I sound like I almost know what the hell in talking about. Are you in Instagram? If so, find me under ‘srbottch’ Give my best to the G-man.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. 55? You’re just a pup. I’m 69 and I still hear from my wife, “when are you going to grow up?” A former associate of mine and I made a pack that we never would. Of course, I didn’t answer her with that for fear of having to cook dinner myself. LOL


    2. By the way, an very interesting lady from Australia liked my ‘Snow Fort’ story an we struck up a dialogue. It may interest you. Her uname is ‘dirtbaglawyer’. Real name is Georgia. I’m going to start reading her stories which involve rock climbing. She’s a corporate lawyer during the week.


  3. I remember growing up in Meadowbrook in the fifties. We ice skated on the pond west of Bonnie Brae. No houses there. It was also where we had the Meadowbrook picnic every year. The walk to school everyday in snow, snow and more snow and no rides to school. We were used to snowy conditions
    And I don’t remember having “snow days”. I do have to say our annual Florida Easter Vacation was a welcome break though. Do I miss the snow? Only the beauty of it. Living now in West Texas, we have occasional snow but it’s enough! Keep building those snow forts! The memories are priceless!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jean, I’m so happy that you read my story. Do you still subscribe to the MB Facebook page? Otherwise, how did you see it. I invite you to ‘follow’ me.


      1. Yes I still read MB Facebook and thoroughly enjoy
        It. Always enjoy a touch of nostalgia from where
        One grows up. By the way I lived on Buckland Ave. and I attended BHS class of ‘60. Thanks for the memories!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Jean, i graduated high school in 1964 in Worcester, MA. You are my sister’s age.

        Have you seen the occasional picture of our neighborhood that I post? If not, send me you email and I’ll forward them.

        Did you read the recent posting about ‘Ice Fishing In The Meadowbrook’? It’s a tongue-in-cheek story, of course.

        By the way, we live on the SW corner of Bonnie Brae and Danbury Circle S. Here’s a picture.

        Thanks for reading my stories and writing about it.

        Sincerely, Steve Bottcher



      3. Thanks Steve. Couldn’t get your house picture. But If I remember correctly your house was once owned by the Scheible Family. Their daughter was a friend of mine. Why trivia is remembered along with old song lyrics but forget what we did two days ago I can only say life at 75 is great!!! We lived at 229 Buckland.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. We left the summer of ‘59 and headed to
        Short Hills, NJ. It might have been the second house from the corner and it was white.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Open a whole new blog, then copy and paste the old one into the new one. In that way, the old one is saved as is, and you can add to the new one. Sometimes I will add an opening paragraph in italics, such as “The is a repost of my favorite children’s Christmas books”.

        Liked by 1 person

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