95962_000_027A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance (Prov. 15:13).
Mr. Icedale got up one Saturday morning and looked out his window. There was snow everywhere, and icicles hung from his rooftop. “Snow!” he snarled. “I hate snow! I might as well go back to bed.” And with that, he jumped back into bed and pulled the covers over himself.
A squirrel crawled across the outside ledge of Mr. Icedale’s window and scratched on the screen. He wondered if Mr. Icedale might have a few crumbs for him that morning. But when he saw Mr. Icedale snuggled under his blankets and quilts, he stopped scratching and quietly crawled away.
Right next door lived Grammie Brown, whose grandson Jeffry had spent the night. Jeffry loved staying with her.
Grammie woke him up earlier than usual that morning. “Look outside—it snowed last night!” Her voice was filled with the wonder and amazement of new-fallen snow. “Quick—come down! We’ll eat some hot cereal and toast, then go for a walk before anyone else makes a print in the snow.”
Jeffry pulled on his long johns, his woolen socks, his jeans, a turtleneck, and a pullover. He raced downstairs without even making the bed and sat down to eat just as Grammie brought the toast and cereal to the table. They ate their hot, brown-sugared cereal in a hurry, then pulled on their boots, scarves, coats, hats, and gloves.
The streets were silent, and the snow crunched under their feet as first Jeffry stepped in Grammie’s footprints and then Grammie stepped in Jeffry’s. They trailed sticks behind them as they walked along. They fell backward into the snow and made beautiful snow angels by moving their arms and legs back and forth. Grammie made a big heart in the snow with the end of her stick and wrote “GB + JB” in the middle of the heart. Jeffry hugged her through all the layers of clothes that they had on. “I love you, Grammie. You’re the best grandmother ever!”
Grammie chuckled. “And you’re the best grandson ever!”
Suddenly Grammie straightened up. “I have a great idea. Let’s go shovel Mr. Icedale’s sidewalk before he gets out of bed!” Jeffry wasn’t sure it was such a great idea—it sounded like work, not fun—but Grammie was already pulling him along.
When they arrived, Jeffry stamped his foot and began to cry. “I want to keep playing! I’m too little to shovel snow, anyway.”
“Oh, Jeffry, I know that you can’t shovel snow. But you can make the snowmen.”
“Yes, Jeffry, snowmen. You just roll snowballs along the sidewalk to make their bodies, and I’ll come after you and shovel up what little remains.”
Jeffry knew that his dad didn’t shovel the sidewalk that way, but it sounded like a good idea. He rolled two huge snowballs, two smaller ones, and two that were about the size of his own head. When Grammie had finished getting the snow off the sidewalks, she helped him roll the snowballs in front of Mr. Icedale’s bedroom window.
After they anchored the two largest in place, they stacked the smaller ones on top and filled in the gaps with more snow. Then they hurried to Grammie’s to get two carrots for the snowmen’s noses, buttons for the eyes and mouths, and two old scarves to wrap around their necks.
The snowmen were finished. Jeffry hadn’t known that shoveling sidewalks could be so much fun! He giggled as they ran back to Grammie’s house for hot chocolate and sandwiches.
Soon his parents came to pick him up. As they sat in the kitchen and talked, his dad looked out the kitchen window. “Who made the snowmen in Mr. Icedale’s yard?” he asked.
Jeffry looked at Grammie and put his finger up to his lips.
“Snowmen?” Grammie asked. “Well, look at that! Someone has made snowmen in Mr. Icedale’s yard. What a nice thing to do! He’s been a bit grouchy lately—maybe that will cheer him up.” She winked at Jeffry.
A few minutes later, as he stretched up to give her a hug and kiss good-bye, he whispered, “Let’s shovel Mr. Icedale’s walks again the next time it snows.”
When they passed Mr. Icedale’s house on the way home, Jeffry looked at the snowmen one last time. And there, with the window wide open, was Mr. Icedale putting out peanuts for the squirrels. He had a smile on his face—the first smile that had been there in a long time.
Jeffry leaned back in his seat with a great big smile of his own.