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Monday, September 05, 2016

Monday of Munsch: Thomas' Snowsuit

Happy Labor Day, everybody...or as we Canadians like to call it - Labour Day!  We do love our U's!

So, we're into the month of September, and for this and every Monday in the month, I thought that I would do something very special that incorporates my love of reading with life lessons learned along the way.

And to make this temporary feature even more special, every single book that I will spotlight will be written by the same author.  An author who I had the pleasure of meeting all the way back in 1990!

Okay, so I met him for maybe two minutes or so.  But when children's author Robert Munsch came to town, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to meet him.  Every single one of his books is a masterpiece, and I would cite him as one of the main influences in my creative life.

I suppose one of the main reasons why I love Robert Munsch as an author is the fact that he cam create stories from a wide variety of different sources.  Sometimes he'll even get inspiration from people who took him into their homes, or from kids he meets while he goes on reading tours.  This is exactly how he came to craft the story that I have chosen today, as he was trying to entertain a group of preschoolers in Halifax, Nova Scotia by telling them a story about a boy and his snowsuit.

That book became Thomas' Snowsuit.

Now, I know what you're thinking.  The first day of Winter is still months away, and we're still enjoying shorts and T-shirt weather.  It's way too soon to be thinking about snowsuit weather.  And, technically, you're right...however, I have to tell this story because it was the first story that popped into my head.

Now, for those of you who have read the story, you know exactly what it is all about.  There's a kid named Thomas who gets a brand new snowsuit to wear during the winter months.  The problem is that it is a plain brown snowsuit.  It's bland, it's dull, and Thomas hates it.  

He hates it so much that he does everything in his power to not wear it.  He gets into fights with his mother to the point where the entire living room gets trashed.  He has found a way to make the word NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNO last a whole minute.  And when he is forced to put on his snowsuit at recess, he somehow ends up getting his teacher and the principal to swap clothes while he continues to stand around refusing to put on the snowsuit until the kids call out for him to come outside and play.

It's quite a cute story about dealing with the situations you're dealt with and prioritizing what is really important in the world.

Now, I want to share with you my own personal Thomas' Snowsuit story.  Only, it's Matthew's Snowsuit.

And, I will just say this.  I hated snowsuits.  At least I did back in the 1980s, anyway.

You know the ones I mean, don't you?  They came with a parka and matching snowpants which were fashioned the same way that a pair of overalls were.  They were big, bulky, hard to get on, and hard to move around in.  I would have preferred to have skipped the snowsuit altogether and worn one of those bomber style jackets, but Mom always said that it was way too cold to do that in the second grade, and that snow was wet and cold and I would end up soaking wet if I played on the snow forts in the schoolyard.

Let me tell you, the old style snowsuits were like torture devices for the average seven-year-old, and the most pointless invention ever made.  I spent so much time getting the damn thing on that by the time I had the snowsuit, boots, mittens, and hat on, recess was over and I had to spend another ten minutes trying to get everything off again.  And heaven forbid you had to go to the bathroom during recess or lunch period.  That was a disaster in itself!

And just like Thomas, my snowsuit was a special kind of ugly.  Okay, so my snowsuit wasn't brown...but it was navy blue - a colour that I didn't care for when I was younger.  Every other kid in the class had brightly coloured ones, like red, and yellow, and green, and pink...

...well, okay, I wouldn't have worn the pink one either.

But still...I didn't like wearing the snowsuit, and I do recall having arguments with my teacher about why I didn't want to wear it.  I even tried to compromise with her about wearing part of it, but skipping the suspender snowpants, but she wouldn't budge.  I would have rather stayed inside the school and read a book rather than go outside in the playground and be bombarded with snowballs.

(Because let's face it...even though our school banned snowballs in the playground, we all still did it anyway because we were rebellious and stupid.)

However, looking back on it, I do realize that I was lucky enough to have actually owned a snowsuit.  There are some people who can't afford to buy one (because let's face it, snowsuits are extremely overpriced).  That's why I'm glad my area has snowsuit drives where we can donate them to other people who might need them.  And, really, if it keeps you warm, does it really matter what colour it is?  Sure, it did when I was seven and superficial, but in my mid-thirties, I tend to think a lot more practical.

Though, I still think that snowsuits that still use overall designs need to be banned.  Slush pants are just as effective and easier to put on!

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