By Rita Ciresi
My first icicles came out of a box marked Brite Star. My sisters and I draped the crinkly silver tinsel over the branches of our artificial Christmas tree, all the while singing, “O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum, thy leaves are so unchanging.”
Later in December, real icicles hung from the gutters, shiny crystals against the cold blue Connecticut sky. We snapped the icicles off the porch overhang, cradled them between our wet woolen mittens, and sucked them like Popsicles.
I grew up and moved to places where winter always was described as “brutal.” Glistening tree branches bent under the weight of frozen water. Houses were coated like cupcakes in icy frosting.
I no longer snapped the ice off overhangs and raised it to my mouth as if it were a delicious summer treat. Instead, I cursed the ice as I slipped and slid down the treacherous driveway to pour boiling water down the side of my car, because the doors were frozen shut once again.
Now I live in Florida and the only ice I deal with comes in bags stuffed in my freezer as preparation for another hurricane. When the power thunks off during a storm, the bags become yet another soggy, sloppy mess I have to mop up.
At Christmastime, I walk through our neighborhood at nine o’clock at night— when it’s still close to 90 degrees—to see the holiday decorations. I ooh and ah at the icicle lights our neighbors have hung from their roofs and eaves. I’ve moved to the Sunshine State to get away from snow and ice—so why do I still long for the brilliant white of my childhood winters?
About the Writer:
Rita Ciresi is author of the novels Bring Back My Body to Me, Pink Slip, Blue Italian, and Remind Me Again Why I Married You, and four award-winning story collections, Female Education, Second Wife, Sometimes I Dream in Italian, and Mother Rocket. She is a professor of English at the University of South Florida, a faculty mentor for the Bay Path MFA program, and fiction editor of 2 Bridges Review. Her website is www.ritaciresi.com.