little box (ours was brown) (courtesy memorial nod to Pete Seeger). We'd bought the house in a development where we could afford a three-bedroom rancher, and being totally unfamiliar with the Chicago area, had no idea that we were moving into an all-white neighborhood where people lived out the song, every single verse. I thought I would lose my mind from the utter sameness.
But back to the weather. The house was situated so that the very large sliding-glass door with patio faced the south. In the winter (which was most of the time), the children played on the rug in the sunlight shining in through that huge glass divide.
When the first snowfall came, we were excited. We had no idea. We took little Tom out back so he could play in the snow. He loved it, and cried when he had to come in. He and Joe built a snowman on the lawn facing the patio and, hence, the sliding glass door. And because Joe is an artist, and a clever and creative person, he crafted that snowman so that it was unmistakably Ernie. I thought it was adorable. For the first week. Even the second week. But then . . . . I do not remember how many weeks I saw that leering Ernie face grinning in at me. As the weeks went on, I came to loathe it, and Ernie too.
And that, friends, is how my fondness for the duller, less grimacing Bert began.