Sunday, January 01, 2006


I remember the year my mom discovered Snow in a Can.

Remember the old farm house I lived in, the one I just mentioned in the previous post? It was the parsonage for Mount Olive Church, back when this church was a country church six miles west of a small town in Alberta. As the church could afford, the house was slowly updated. I remember when the coal furnace was removed and replaced with gas, I remember when the ringer washing machine was replaced with a modern top-loader...

...I digress, but with a purpose. I want you to understand how quaint and old this house was. You need to be able to picture that in the winter, we could draw patterns in the frost on our bedroom window just like Laura did in Little House on the Prairie.

I remember Mom bringing out this blue can with a red lid one day as we were preparing for Christmas. "It's decorative snow!" she said. "We can make pretty patterns using stencils on our windows..." She seemed very excited. First she used the can to spray the white foam all over our real Christmas tree...the pine smell was replaced with the odour of propellants, and if you squinted, our tree almost looked fake. In my childishness, I thought this was very clever! We could never afford a REAL fake tree.

Then Mom used the can to spray white foam into all the angled corners of the window, covering all the real frost with a nubbly sheen of faux frost. This was not quite as clever, in my opinion. What window could I draw on now? Only my bedroom window upstairs, all the others were out of reach! Oh well. Mom knew best. My little sister and I begged to be allowed to do some of the spraying, and I think we were allowed to try...but we sprayed it on unevenly. The can went back to Mom.

She still uses that Snow in a Can stuff. I don't get it. Maybe if we lived somewhere hot like Arizona and frost was something we dreamed about along with the sugar plums and other Christmas visions, then it would make sense to fabricate it on our windows. But real frost is so pretty, and here in Alberta (especially in our old poorly heated farm house) we had plenty of it! No sir, I don't get it.

4 comments:

Spoke said...

My ol' mum was a nutcase at Christmas. Garland,tinsel and lights in every possible corner. She had little bells hanging from the ceiling! Three steamer trunks of decorations. We lived in BC, usually no snow outdoors, so mum made it "snow" indoors. That stuff stunk to high heaven, but it made mum smile.She NEVER put it on the tree though...she said it wouldn't look real. As if living at the North Pole for 2 months looked "real".

annacond said...

your comment about REAL artificial trees made me giggle. i remember reading a book when i was little about a girl growing up in saskatchewan who was jealous that her friend could afford REAL artificial silk stockings...what the..?! re the snow in a can: i probably have a can of that gunk around from some old craft project ... if you wanna spray your shed windows or something! memories...

papa herman said...

Growing up in Long Beach, CA real frost was the closest thing we had to snow... but I that has nothing to do with my comment about canned snow.

I remember seeing a punk band called Phantom Opera play once, and during the course of the show their singer would pull out a can of hairspray and ask if we were cold and then using a lighter and hairspray shoot fire. He would then pull out the can of artifical snow and ask if we were hot and then spray the crowd with the snow.

He would also spit raw french fries or potatoes out onto the crowd too, but I don't recall what that was all about.

Paula said...

Hmmm....raw potatoes, eh? I'm sure I have a memory stored in my grey matter somewhere that tops that. I'll have to think about it. *grins*