Snowball Fight MAG

By Jess C., West Point, UT

     It had been several years since my mom’s best friend, Robyn, moved to Wyoming. Her husband, Thomas, was working on a ranch, and their whole family moved to be with him. Finally, we were able to schedule a vacation and planned to spend several days on the ranch where my sister and I could visit with her two kids, Josslyn and Joshua. It was winter, and so cold that when my mom fueled the car her jeans froze.

Thomas taught us how to cut a hole in the frozen pond and ice fish. We had a lot of fun even though we didn’t catch anything. After work, Thomas and the ranch hands would cook dinner in their Dutch oven, and we’d all eat around the fire pit. I even learned how to ride a horse and went out by myself.

The ranch house was heated by a wood-burning stove, so it got pretty cold at night. At suppertime, we would place large, smooth rocks on the stove. When it was time to crawl into our cold beds, we wrapped the rocks in an old towel and took them to bed. We slept with the rocks at the bottom of our beds under the covers or hugged them against us. It was amazing how warm we stayed. In the morning, the rocks were still warm!

I remember one night in particular. We waited until dark and then bundled ourselves in our heavy winter coats, hats, and thick gloves. We were going on a midnight ride. We saddled the horses and packed emergency provisions. There were eight horses and 11 of us. The horses were a variety of colors: black, brown, buckskin, Pinto, and Appaloosa. They all had their own personalities. Some were energetic, some gentle and slow, and some just plain old. The smaller kids doubled up with an adult, but I got to ride my own horse. It was big, black, and frisky.

It was really dark when we left, but the moon was huge and bright. We weren’t too familiar with the land, which was covered with valleys, meadows, and forests. We had to trust that Thomas knew the way. With 100 acres to cross we spent two hours meandering through the trees on our horses. It was interesting to think that off in the woods where we couldn’t see, wild animals watched our every move. It was peaceful and quiet with just the sound of the horses’ hooves crunching through the snow.

We stopped to see old farmhouses and even a one-room schoolhouse. Soon the joy of riding horses couldn’t cover the soreness from the saddle or the chill of the night. Just when I thought I couldn’t ride anymore, we stopped at an old abandoned house to rest.

We were sitting on rocks resting our sore backsides when some snow slid from a tree above Thomas and landed on the back of his head, sliding into the warmth of his coat. Thinking that somebody had done it purposely, he threw a giant snowball at the person closest to him. The greatest snowball fight ever had begun.

We used the old building as shelter and created snow forts in the meadow. We stockpiled snowballs behind our walls and while one person covered the enemy, the other made snowballs as fast as possible. The teams changed as soon as you hit the wrong person and they defected to the other side. I don’t know how long it lasted or remember much about the return ride to the ranch house. I do remember that it was the best snowball fight ever!

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