Not Eudora   By Harry Welty
Published Dec 9, 2004

Snowman Seeks Companions


Seventeen years ago when my daughter Keely was in first grade she asked me to build a snow dinosaur. That simple, or not so simple, request has resulted in over sixty snow sculptures to date. Some day this snowmanís back will give out which means I need to find someone else to pass the snow sculpting torch on to.


Snow sculpting is pretty easy to do providing you arenít one of those people who think you should be able to pound out a Mozart concerto the first time you sit down at a piano. Hereís how I started.


The winter before Keelyís request Duluth had an Easter thaw and I decided to build a snowman. It was strictly standard issue with three spheres of snow small, medium, and large heaped one on top of the next. But instead of putting a hat on the top sphere I put a big fat stogie of a snowball on it. Then I put another stogie next to it and voilŠ I had the beginnings of an Easter Bunny. I packed more snow on the face to make a muzzle, tucked two bucked teeth snowballs under the muzzle and added a pair of bug eyes. The key to my success was a day in the thirties when the snow was as sticky as modeling clay.


I added two little paws (snow bulges really) and another bulge on the butt for a cotton tail. I was so pleased with my six foot rabbit that I posed my little boy beside it and took a picture. It was so warm that I didnít even bother putting a coat on my son. Thatís the kind of day to make a snow sculpture.


Since Keely knew I could make a bunny I guess it didnít seem so outlandish to ask for a dinosaur. The idea appealed to me too and I imagined a mighty snow tyrannosaur looming over the traffic below our house. I built a mighty pile of snow and waited for a thaw.


The tyrannosaur I built did not loom over the traffic. It lay on its belly like an overgrown iguana with a bad overbite. The next year I felt compelled to make even more dinosaurs to atone for my iguanosaur. They werenít a Mozart concerto either but they were better than chopsticks. The key was a heat wave.


Iíve made sixty or more sculptures since that time. Every one, even the disappointments, has been a joy. There is something infectious about a big pile of snow mutating into artwork.


Years ago I read an anecdote in Readers Digest. Tommy was busy building a snowman in the front yard when his parents got a call from an angry neighbor. Mom and Dad looked out the window and were horrified to see that Tommy had sculpted a well endowed snow woman. They called Tommy in and demanded to know what he was doing. ďThatís just Billy,Ē Tommy told them, ďputting his hands on his ears.Ē


Iím a lonely snowman. Every now and then someone else will make a neat snow sculpture but we people in the Twin Ports waste way too much snow. Its time somebody did something about this.  We need a city full of snow sculptors and that means a snow sculpture contest.


Now, Iím not talking about a contest like up at Ely or on the snow sculpting circuit where professionals carve stuff out of big blocks of snow as though they were sculpting marble. Itís no fun trying to replace a fallen nose with cold dry snow. Weíve got to have our contest during a thaw when the noses are running. I propose that we hold a contest on the first thaw after the first snow of the winter.


I would further propose that we have a category for 3 to 6 foot sculptures to encourage as many people as possible to give it a try. It could be just like the holiday lighting contest only safer. No one would have to risk falling off a ladder while hanging up holiday lights. And just like the lighting contest we should have an award for the neighborhood with the most sculptures.


Weíve already had our first thaw of the winter but if anyone else thinks this is a good idea we could have our first ďFirst ThawĒ snow sculpting contest sometime after New Yearís. It might take place in late spring or it maybe even occur in mid-January. (I used to count on a big thaw every Super bowl weekend). It just depends on the weather.


Whaddaya say? Is anyone with me on this? 


Iím looking for a committee and Iím looking for contestants. If I get thirty emails from potential contestants Iíll get a contest started even if I canít find a committee. Twin Port snow must never be wasted again!


Fellow snowmen (and women) my email address is: harrywelty@charter.net  (Snail mail 2101 E 4th Street . My phone number is in the book) Now sign up and go pile up some snow in anticipation of our next thaw.


Welty is a small time politician who lets it all hang out at: www.snowbizz.com


My first snow sculpture of the 04-05 season fits this column very nicely.