It Snowed at Christmas In Jacksonville?

byronthelonelychristmastree_bookcoverThis is the story I wrote last Christmas. I hope you like it. Tomorrow I will be posting my new annual Christmas story.

Last night I asked Santa for a special gift. I asked him if he could send us snow for Christmas.

It had been years since I had been able to go snowboarding and I really missed it. We had moved to Jacksonville nine years ago and we had only been back to our old ski area at Bryce Resort in Virginia to board and ski and visit friends twice since due in part to the distance and shortness of funds.

Sure surfing is great and I’m fortunate to be able to get in a lot of it but at the same time carving down a mountain in fresh powder is almost as exhilarating. In addition, I have yet to get my old body to pull off any sort of air on a wave but I can on ramps and rails on the slopes.

To be honest, I didn’t fall asleep with any high expectations. Jacksonville hadn’t received any measurable snow since we moved here and the forecast wasn’t predicting any. But as I still believe in miracles I held on to at least a glimmer of hope.

Well, you could have cut my enthusiasm with a knife when I woke up early this morning to find we had received a full eighteen inches of snow overnight. While I couldn’t wait to get out in it, since it’s so flat around these parts, I couldn’t think of a place nearby where I could actually do some real boarding.

To my amazement, when I turned on the TV to the local news, they were showing video from their helicopter of the area bridges where there was no traffic as they were not plowed. As they showed the clip taken over the Beach Blvd. Bridge, I thought, “Now that’s a slope I could ride on my board for sure”.

I was also pleased to hear the reporter say the local bridges and streets wouldn’t be plowed until later in the day as they first needed to get the major highways plowed and as such they warned people to stay off the streets as it wasn’t safe and that if they got stuck they’d be fined.

Knowing I had excellent snow driving skills from all my years living up north, I figured I should be able to make my way to the bridge safely. Either way though I knew I at least had to at least try.

When I told Kathy about my plan she said I was nuts but after assuring her I would be OK she finally gave in and said, “Go ahead but don’t expect me to come pick you up or bail you out of jail if you get stuck or caught”. I took that as an emphatic yes and went and got my snowboard and gear together.

Before leaving, I called my buddies Donald, Donny, Jed and Danny and asked them to find any sled, board or other riding instrument they could find and then meet me at the bridge. As all but Donald lived within walking distance and were daredevils in their own right then agreed. Donald was willing also but as he didn’t live close to the bridge he was hesitant to go. I told him since his house was on the way that I would pick him up which was good enough for him.

It took me every bit of an hour to make my way to Donald’s house and to the bridge as along the way I/we got stuck more than a few times. But when we finally made it there and saw how untouched the snow was we were totally stoked and knew it was worth the effort.

By the time we made it to the top of the bridge, what with me and my snowboard and Donald with his plastic sled that he planed on riding stand-up, we saw our other buddies coming up the other side. Jed was carrying his boogie board, Donny and old pair of water skis and Danny an old surfboard with filed down fins and each was wearing a huge grin on their face.

On our first run down the bridge we decided to go side-by-side which was something hilarious to behold for sure by anyone who witnessed it. Fortunately we all made it down in one piece but not without a lot of bumping into each other and the occasional fall. The closest anyone came to disaster was Donny who ran into the guard rail and almost flipped off the side of the bridge and into the inter-coastal.

After high fives and much laughter we brushed ourselves off and headed back to the top for another run. After a few more runs we started to become pretty creative with our descents. We built several jumps and started trying all sorts of tricks. I, for one, was stoked to finally catch some serious air and I felt like a grom again.

During one of our descents, the news helicopter flew overhead and filmed our performances. They must have shown the coverage live as soon a large contingent of people showed up to watch us. Buoyed by all of the attention, we pulled out all the stops and tried some outrageous maneuvers, some of which worked and some of which we crashed and burned on. Either way, we certainly enjoyed all of the applause and attention we received.

As I was attempting one really cool jump that would have made Shaun White proud, I felt a tug on my night shirt and a voice in my ear saying “wake up”. As I emerged from my dream state I noticed it was my wife Kathy who said, “That must have been some crazy dream you were having because you were bouncing all over the place and mumbling incessantly”.

“You have no idea”, I replied before kissing her, wishing her a merry Christmas then running to the window to see if it really had snowed. After seeing none, I then turned to Kathy with a frown and said, “Crap it didn’t snow after all”.

Kathy looked at me quizzically and asked, “What did you expect? After all we live in Jacksonville silly”.

So, my friends, I hope you enjoyed my story and I hope your dreams come through this Christmas even if they are only in your dreams.

Love and aloha, Paul

About authorpaulhayden

Author, artist, screenwriter, environmentalist. husband, father, surfer, surfing instructor, volunteer.
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