Snowball Fights Make Good Friends


“Wop! Wop! Wop!”

One, then another, and yet another, ‘wop , wop, wop’, from different fronts, rock-hard snowballs, spheres of packed snow that when thrown expertly, leave red blotches on the skin or wet splatter marks on clothing. Mostly, they leave bruised egos! In the shoulder, the backside, the legs and the head, if you’re not watching.

“Run! Run for your life!”

War whoops from the neighborhood bullies who gathered to harass my friends and me on a cold, snowy nor’easter day, the kind of days school kids loved. School was closed, traffic slowed and monster trucks rumbled thru neighborhoods, pushing snow into huge piles for more outdoor games, a perfect atmosphere for snowball fights. These ruffians had lots of opportunities for ‘assaults’ on us during the long, cold New England winters.


The kitchen door closed behind me.

“Just in time for dinner”!

“Why are you so wet?”  

“Why are you panting?”

My mother didn’t get it, had no idea of the peril I faced in the dilapidated barn behind my house where the ‘bad guys’ had us trapped, on the second floor, the ‘good guys’, trapped and running out of ‘ammo’. Snow fell through the leaky roof of the old building, but nary enough to ward off the lot of ogres, older by two or three years, ungloved and open jackets, impervious to the elements. Tough guys, the toughest, and outside the barn, with an endless supply of ammo, falling snow.

I had been called once for dinner…



She didn’t, and wouldn’t, call more than once.

… but the bullies wouldn’t allow our plea for a truce, a ‘temporary suspension of hostilities’. Only a ‘brave’ jump from the hayloft door into a pile of snow and mad dash to my house saved me from…well, you can just imagine!

Yes, ‘imagine’, and I do. Such a beautiful word. I find that, as I get older, a little bit at a time, ‘imagining’ becomes a key part of what I remember and makes my childhood experiences even more vivid than they probably were.

Oh, the barn was there, leaning, and snowball fights were common. And there were older kids, lots of them in a working class neighborhood of large families, but they weren’t really bullies, ruffians, or ogres. Often, we were on the same side in other activities played outside on the streets, surrounded by fresh air.

However, winter was the season of the toughest games. ‘King of the hill’ saw friends tossed about while vieing for the top spot of a snow mound. Sledding was fast and furious, weaving around cars, trees or each other. Just knocking someone into a snow bank was a game. All of it, the rough and tumble, pushing and shoving, bonded our friendships more.

We wore ourselves out…outside, where we created games all day and came home to the loud yell of, ‘suuuuupper!’

I can still pack a good snowball and hit a target…and imagine…and remember.

Yes, snowball fights made good friends!


January 2019 for my WordPress stories

@srbottch on Instagram for photos

To all kids who played in the streets, created fun games with friends and still remember it all.

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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.”

23 thoughts on “Snowball Fights Make Good Friends”

  1. Such lovely memories, Steve. Mine are more beach, sea and sand related than snow. I love the idea of snow but I probably imagine it to be better than it is, for adults in any event. Getting to work everyday in heavy snow must be a bit tough.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Truth be known, I’d prefer the beach memories, too. Interestingly, we average 90-100 inches of snow annually but nothing stops, not for long. Towns have the equipment to remove snow and people keep going. The memories are better than the real thing unless you’re a winter sports person. 😄

      Liked by 4 people

      1. South Africa can’t cope with snow because we hardly ever have it. I suppose that is reasonable. We cope reasonably well with very hot weather though. Our houses are built for heat with big windows and open spaces. Not great when it is cold though, Brrrr!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. A vivid post, Steve! I definitely remember the excitement and occasional terror when older kids acted like bullies in my neighborhood. I ended up running far beyond the one or two block limit of my early childhood boundaries in order to escape them. We haven’t had any significant snow yet in the Boston area this winter, but I am looking forward to some snowball making and throwing when a wet snow storm finally arrives… Thank you for sharing your memories — which trigger OUR memories (with and without embellishment…)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I grew up in Worcester and always was excited about snow storms., esp nor’easters. Now, in Rochester, NY, we get more snow buy much of it is ‘lake effect’ snow, caused by Erie and Ontario. So glad you liked the story. And I hope they outgrew their ‘bulliness’.


  3. Wonderful post, Steve! I think it creates more than great memories, it is practice for real life – solving problems, making friends, being scared, making choices. You and I had that practice, outside. I worry that children today are missing out on more than just fun.


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