Children play in snowbanks

Staff writer

Calli Burkholder, 7, saw all the snow on the ground and knew one thing: she just had to dig a snow tunnel.

“I’ve never played in snow like this,” the Marion resident said. “There so much; it’s perfect to play in. You can push it, pack it down and even dig a hole through it if you want to. I know I can make a snow tunnel. It’ll be great. If I can get it done soon enough, I can hide from my mother. She won’t know where to find me.”

Calli is one of the dozens of Marion children who decided to spend Thursday in the snowbanks. It didn’t matter the location. As long as they were able to play in the cold, wet precipitation, they were happy. Many tried to find a place in town to sled, but couldn’t find a prime location — and gave up after two or three failed attempts. A few went back indoors but most stayed outside, content to have impromptu snowball fights and fort-building/tunnel-digging contests.

For Calli, the perfect place to dig a snow tunnel was in front of Carlson’s Grocery. She said she just couldn’t resist the large mound of snow when her mother, Kris, drove into the parking lot.

“It was a really big pile of snow,” she said. “You need that if you’re going to make a really good tunnel.”

Moments after she got out of the vehicle, she was picking up snow with her mittened hands, forming balls and throwing them at her two friends. They soon joined in on the fight, only to stop three minutes later when contagious laughter overtook them.

“Stop it,” she said, admonishingly. “You know I can’t throw snow when I laugh.”

They threw a few more snowballs, but then Calli went back to digging through the snowbank. She said the fight was fun while it lasted, but said they wasted precious minutes they could’ve spent working on the tunnel.

It took about five minutes for the three friends to make the first hole. They worked methodically, digging in the back and front of the snowpile at the same time while packing the snow down so the structure wouldn’t collapse.

“You’ve got to pack it own real good or else it won’t work,” said friend Cameron White, 10, of Marion. “If it collapses, then it won’t make a good hiding place. People will be able to see us.”

But they didn’t count on one thing: Calli’s mother wouldn’t take forever in the grocery store. As soon as they saw her come out the front door, they immediately went behind the snowbank to hide.

“Duck,” Burkholder said in a whisper to her friends. “If we’re really quiet maybe she won’t guess where we are.”

But, it didn’t work. Moments later she stood directly in front of the pile and called their names. The three girls rose with smiles on their faces, pleased with themselves, even in the failed attempt.

“We’ll find a bigger snowpile next time,” Burkholder said. “She won’t be able to find us so easily then.”

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