ESCANABA - First you find a field or yard full of fresh pack-e snow. Call together your crew, siblings, cousins and maybe a few friends.
Send one kid home to raid the house for buttons, a hat, scarf, and a carrot. Then let the fun begin!
Mold a cold mound of snow into a ball a roll it and roll it and roll it. As the snowball grows it squeaks and crunches as it munches up more bulk.
Karen Wils photos
Karen and her daughter, Ellen, show off their snowy creation.
Next, wet mittens and pat and press the snowball, shaping it just so. Using the hill to our advantage, the crew makes the head; middle and the bottom of the snowman come together.
Then those with the longest arms and the strongest backs wrestle to get Frosty's parts on top of each other. Wet snow is chinked in between the snowballs like glue.
Now, the decorating department takes over. Dad's old hat seems to fit Frosty's head. Sticks made good arms and strings from a mop make hair.
Finally, the most important ingredient in any snowman making is added. Frozen time is liberally sprinkled all over the winter creation.
Frozen time like frozen peas is a healthy thing. It is measured by the ticking of snowflakes against the ageless trees. For an hour or two time stands still. It's like being in a magical snow globe.
In this dreamland of darkness, the long winter's nights suspends aching bones, cold toes and fingers, homework, bedtimes and responsibilities.
Only the snow, the stars and the frosty breath of friends and family are real.
Frozen time cannot be bought at any stores or purchased online. It is the pure magic of a memory that snowman building makes.
Snowmen, snowwomen and snow creatures are not just lumps of precipitation or decorations. They're little makers on a timeline. How many times did your Mom or Dad call you and your family around the snowman to take a group picture?
How many times did I flip through the pages of an old photo album and see a picture of cousins by a snowman they made? Immediately memories flow. "I remember that year the snow was up to the mailbox," or "see Grandpa's 1952 Ford pick-up in the background of that photo of the snowman.
Children will forever recall the names of adults that helped them construct a snowman. My aunt Sandy was often the one to help my brothers and I make snow people.
There's something special about making a snowman that brings out the kid in all of us. Even though I remember my Mom complaining about all the snow tracked in the house and the wet mittens, I have photos of her spring food coloring on our snow dinosaur to make it look green!
The snow sculptures sometimes only last for a few weeks, but the memories of the team work that went into them will last for many years.
Most of us still recall the huge "Frosty" that stood on the empty lot on Stephenson Avenue across from the Save-More store a few years ago.
Frozen time means a good time. Did you ever stop to wonder just how many snowmen and snowwomen there are in the U.P. on any given winter weekend? After a wet heavy snow, there is a population explosion in Upper Michigan.
How many Frosty's are in your future this winter?
Karen (Rose) Wils is a lifelong resident of north Escanaba resident. Her folksy columns are published weekly in Lifestyles.