On my way back to bed just now I looked out the kitchen window and realized that the freshly-made snowcouple in my next-door neighbors' front yard are now missing their heads as of sundown. Is this some kind of Solstice prank? Is it a mischief to satisfy the twisted cravings of some resentful Utahn who missed the full moon/lunar eclipse last night, thanks to cloud cover? When I get up in the morning and look at the rest of the snowfolk on my block, will they have also lost their noggins? What gives, thieves?
These aren't the first heads to disappear from our 'hood this week. Two Sundays ago, I was leaving the house very late for church, and happened to witness the surprise delivery of a beast of a Christmas ornament to my other next-door neighbors (also my friends). Picture a delivery truck and a scramble of everyday-looking people, mostly grumping at each other (a couple of them shirking their duty and singing silly carols at the others from across the street) while they unloaded something large which at first resembled a blowup lawn decoration in the shape of a snowman. As the layers of plastic wrap(!) began to be peeled away, I saw that it was a giant tree with a stupidly happy and top-hatted Frosty head in place of a star, and long arms sleeved in festive Christmas plaid with which to hug itself and possibly grab children. Tell you what, it was really hard to tear myself away and drive to church with that kind of show going on.
Later that evening, I knocked on my neighbors' door, eager to inspect the holiday damage. Mom, Dad, and kids were all sitting in their now-crowded living room in chairs lined up in a row, staring slack-jawed at the Frosty tree (whose neck looked a little uncomfortable, what with his being so tall and trying not to scrape his top hat on the not-quite-high-enough ceiling) and the landslide of other large and unexpected gifts that had also been grumpily delivered: entertainment center, enormous flatscreen TV, blue-ray, and a giant inflatable for the front yard—three snowmen in a snow globe.
Frosty struck me as full of silly goodwill and Christmas cheer, a soul whose spirit could never be dampened nor defeated. He seemed not to care (or even notice) that he was out of place in their quiet, understated home. "OH, BY GOSH, BY GOLLY, FOLKS, HOPE YA HAVE A MERRY CHRISTMAS!" What made the situation even more comical was Frosty's improbable mass, which seemed all the more exaggerated by the diminutive size of his new housemates; we're talking about tiny people who live next to me. People frighteningly dwarfed by an enthusiastic tree-man.
When I visited a couple days later, there was something distressing happening to Frosty. The young daughter of the family was up on a chair, and appeared to be giving Frosty some kind of chiropractic adjustment. I heard a clear Crack! as she grabbed his (fake) carrot nose for better leverage. Crack! again, and Frosty got a hitch in his sniffy-up.
Next time I stopped in, Frosty was gone. Oh, the glittering tree that once was his body was still there, and its silvery ornaments gleamed with pride, having been stripped of goofiness, as Frosty's keepers had wrenched the head free, and removed the appendages, which once had been so eager to embrace the season. I was told: "J. came by today and wanted the head for a costume. But she wouldn't take the arms." The tree did look pretty after having received such intimate alterations—who would have ever noticed those fancy baubles with such a friendly bumpkin forever introducing himself and stealing the show? I never did. I can't exactly say I blame my friends for deconstructing Frosty's personality, but oh, by gosh, by golly, I do kinda miss him. I cannot see a tree when I look at their renovated (fake) tannenbaum; for me, it will remain a headless snowman.
And now this, this rash of lost heads. I don't suspect J. Nope, somebody must have watched Frosty's beheading through my neighbors' front window; this is a copycat crime. Or maybe this is someone's idea of a protest against the mistreatment of snowmen in captivity. I guess it could be the local snowpeople's own demonstration of solidarity: We will all lay down our heads until Frosty again wears his own (fake) smile.
Bundesarchiv, Bild 102-12806 / CC-BY-SA [CC-BY-SA-3.0-de
(www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons