Denver Bar Association
October 2003
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A Snowball's Chance: And just try not to get caught

by David Erickson

At the beginning of sixth grade, our family moved from the Wallingford District in central Seattle, to View Ridge in northeast Seattle. The Ridge was a lovely spot, where homes had spectacular views of Lake Washington and the Cascade Mountains behind.

Paul Christopher, my same age, lived on the adjoining street and we became good friends. During Christmas vacation that year, it snowed, and Paul and I arranged to meet at the end of the block, on the corner of 65th Street—a steep hill descending from the top of the ridge toward Lake Washington at the bottom.

I arrived first and although the street was icy, cars occasionally moved cautiously down the hill. I began making snowballs and throwing them at passing cars. I made a particularly hard one and when a sedan passed I threw it, but it sailed through the open passenger side window and caught the driver squarely on the right cheek. The driver hit the brakes, the car began to slide, then came to a rest facing the opposite direction—back up the hill. A very angry man then emerged, took a quick look around, spotted me, and started back up the hill on foot.

I immediately took off for home, rounding the corner at 65th as fast as I could, then began the long sprint down the block to the safety of home. Paul was coming up the block toward me, but under the circumstances I didn’t plan to stop and talk. He stood there as I ran by, and when I looked back, the angry man had turned the corner, and was coming down the block. Paul, unaware of what was happening, was looking the other direction—toward me. A few seconds later, I heard him scream and knew he had been caught. The last time I looked back, just before entering the house, the man was on top of him and Paul was thrashing about in the snow yelling: "Help! Help!"

A few minutes later the bell rang and when I opened the door there he was—disheveled and covered with snow. "What happened?" I asked nervously, and Paul said: "I was just walk’n up the street and some guy came up and grabbed me from behind and threw me down." "Oh!" I said, frowning, as he came in the house. "And then he stuffed snow up my shirt and down my pants!" Paul continued, gesturing, and pulling on the waistband of his snow filled pants—shaking snow out onto the floor. "That’s too bad," I replied, brushing snow off his shirt. "Why’d he do it? I didn’t do anything," Paul whined. "Dunno," I replied.

Author’s Note: Don’t feel sorry for Paul. He was provided with numerous opportunities to reciprocate and he made the most of them.

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