*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events as told to me by a family member who experienced them firsthand; used with permission.
My mother and my aunt decided to build a snowman in my parents' yard after a big snowstorm. It had snowed the night before, and the snow was clean, bright, and white.
Neither my mother nor my aunt had children yet, but that didn't stop them from wanting to play in the snow. According to my mother, the snow was so inviting they just knew they had to do something with it.
Her story reminds me of a question I saw on Quora once. Someone asked, "Would you find it strange if an adult with no kids built a snowman in their yard?"
Someone replied to the query with this excellent response: "Why should adults avoid doing things [that] make them happy simply because those things are considered childish by others? Building a snowman is fun. Anyone should do it if it so pleases them. Really, who is it hurting?"
In another response, someone wrote, "You're never too old to have a happy childhood."
My mother and my aunt had a great time laughing and building their snowman. They had chosen a spot close to the house because they didn't want to block cars from entering and exiting the driveway or the garages.
Unfortunately, when my father got home from work, he decreed that my mother and her sister had chosen the absolute worst spot to build their little friend.
"Really?" he asked. "Wasn't there another spot you could have built this lousy snowman?"
"You would have complained no matter where we built it," my mother told him.
"Probably," he admitted, "but this is just so pathetic."
My mother and aunt ignored my father's grumbling and went inside to warm up. They had hot chocolate with whipped cream and talked about how much fun they had building their snowman.
My father came in a few minutes later, his nose red from the cold. He stopped yelling long enough to explain that my mother and my aunt had built the snowman too close to the bulkhead door that opened onto the stairs that led to the basement. "Leave it there," he said. "And watch what happens when the snow melts and floods the basement."
Later that night, my mother couldn't sleep. She tossed and turned, thinking about that snowman and what would happen if it melted overnight. My mother didn't want to flood the basement, and there was one thing about my father: he was always right.
"I got out of bed at 2 a.m.," she told me. "I grabbed a shovel out of the garage and knocked down my poor snowman. Then I shoveled him across the yard onto the piles of snow on the side of the driveway so he would melt into the gutter with the rest of the snow."
My mother finished demolishing the snowman just as the sun was rising. She went back to bed, but she couldn't stop thinking about that poor snowman and how he met his end.
"It was just a pointless waste of a perfectly good snowman," she said, "but your father was right. The melting snow would have flooded the basement for sure."