Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Amazing Adventures of Amie and her Mother

I wonder if she knew, even then, that we would be best friends...

I’m gonna let you in on some secrets that are invaluable if you are a Mom, because somehow my Mom managed to do what we all hope to. Somehow her mixture of disciplinarian, teacher, role model and friend gave her a daughter who appreciates her, admires her, loves to be around her… and is trying to replicate it all with her own daughters.
When I was thirteen, I had a first of many embarrassing moments at school. My Mom is the person who taught me to laugh at myself. Sounds simple, but what a magical solution it turned out to be in so many instances. Because of our willingness to laugh at ourselves, Mom and I have never been without a good laugh.
When I was fifteen, Mom showed me her poetry collection from when she was young. She had written or typed every poem she could find, most about love, illustrated them with the most perfect pictures, cut from magazines, and saved them in a binder. I was completely enamored. I was never the same. I started walking to the library to scour books and magazines. I started adding to the collection. I started writing.
As a sixteen year old, terrible at small talk and awkward at dating conversation, Mom taught me the best secret for being a good date. Be interested in the other person and ask them questions about themselves. Use it girls- it’s gold.
At seventeen I decided to be in a local scholarship pageant. Mom and Dad weren’t sure how they felt about the idea of their daughter being judged. I didn’t realize my commitment meant a huge commitment from my Mom as well. We were both way out of our comfort zones. She started researching. She got me ready. She even found out about the glue you spray on your backside to keep your swimsuit from riding up. Then she gave me Benadryl and nursed me through my drowsiness when I had an allergic reaction to the glue. :)
I won the first two pageants, and in doing so, got us committed to do the Miss Utah State Fair and the Miss Utah Pageant. Armed with names and addresses of obscure dress and swimsuit sales people we, two small town girls, went traipsing around the jam packed streets of Salt Lake City to get me ready. Wouldn’t you know it, someone rear ended us at a red light.
I still have the poems and cards she had sent backstage, telling me that win or lose- my family knows how beautiful I really am.
My Aunt Ruth (Dad's side), me, Mom after one of the nights of the Miss Utah Pageant.

Mom’s broom was useful for much more than sweeping the kitchen floor. As siblings we got along really well, and have always been close. At times though, my brothers (who are twins) would get competitive and wrestle their way through the house. Mom would wedge the broomstick between them to break them up.
One night Mom heard a noise in the driveway. She didn’t realize it was Ryan and I pulling in after a date. Our long goodnight kiss was interrupted by the broom handle tapping on the, admittedly, foggy window. Hee hee, *blush*. It was a year into Ryan and I’s marriage before this story became funny.
The post could go on forever, because these aren’t even the most important lessons. She gave me prayer. Faith. Testimony. Sense of self and true worth.
We’re going through the biggest challenge of our lives so far, as Mom mourns for my Dad. Good news is, this family has always had each other… and we ALWAYS will.

Monday, April 25, 2011

My True Love Story

Valentine's Day is Not Friendly, Day 500ish

I sit in my bedroom alone, door closed, music on, picture of the heart with the lock and stone wall barrier hung securely on the wall in front of me. It’s the day before Valentine’s Day, but am I thinking about that? Heavens no! Well, maybe a little… being who I am and all. Whenever the thought creeps in though, I chase it right back out and read another quote about heartbreak, handwritten on my, locked up, heart crest.

“If she herself will not love, nothing can make her: The devil take her! -Sir John Suckling.”
“To say the truth, reason and love keep little company together now-a-days. –William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
From the hall outside comes a subtle knock and my Mom pokes her head in. She uses her careful, warning that someone unexpected is here, yet polite, aren’t we happy that they’ve come voice. “Amie, Ryan is here to see you.”
“Oh! Okay,” I say, jumping from my desk chair and fluffing my hair in the mirror.
My Mom swings the door wide and Ryan peers around the edge of the door frame.
“Hi,” he says.
“Hi!” I say.
I don’t know what he says after that, because what he’s holding in his left hand comes into view as he takes a step into my room. It’s a lovely arrangement of roses in a delicate glass vase! It’s beautiful. I’m stunned. I’m looking from the roses to his face. I try so very hard to focus on his words as they fall from his lips. Something about “I wanted to get these for you”, something about “Valentine’s Day”.
I must listen. I must take in what’s happening.
Wait! What’s my face doing? What is my visible reaction to this moment? I am a sophisticated young woman who’s had a genteel upbringing. I must not look as shocked as I feel. Well, maybe appropriately shocked. Just the sort of happy shock that communicates the fact that no boy has ever given me roses before, or anything as beautiful as these.
I must smile. I must gush.
As it turns out, roses inspire a genuine reaction in a young woman, whether she’s sophisticated or not. My genuine reaction is all gratitude, all smiles and gush. I am reverent as the vase passes from his hand to both of mine. I can feel my smile warm the whole room like when the sun comes full out from behind the clouds on a summer day. I push my nose into the nearest bloom and breath so deep that I swoon a little. Adjectives come easily: “beautiful”, “sweet”, “amazing”, “thoughtful”.
He seems pleased by my reaction. This might be twice as scary for him, come to think of it. How brave must a guy be to bring roses to a girl who has, outwardly, only been his friend? Let’s face it, roses are not friendly. Valentine’s Day is not friendly.
He pushes a card into my hand. I won’t read it in front of him. I can’t hold back this tide of emotion long enough to do that. All of my questions will flash across my face if I do.
He doesn’t seem to want to stick around long enough to watch me read the card anyway. We both manage some sort of cordial goodbye… with more expression of my thanks following him down the hall on his way out. I stand there in shock, clutching these tokens until I hear him walk out of my front door and close it behind him.
I fairly toss the vase onto the corner of the desk and plop down on my bed to pull open the flap of the lavender envelope. The card doesn’t say anything that roses gifted for Valentine’s Day don’t say all by themselves. Ryan has feelings for me. Feelings that go to a level other than friendship. A level, that he climbed up a sheer rock face to get to and then had me parachuted in. A level that we can’t get back down from now. The climb has been made. The roses have been purchased. The card has been signed. The gift has been delivered. The view is breath-taking, but the height is terrifying.
I start to cry. Lame, I know, but I’m a fifteen year old girl. Then I do another thing that fifteen year old girls do. I grab the phone and call one of my best friends.
“Tiff,” I sniff, “It’s Amie.” She might not be able to recognize my cry voice.
“Is everything okay?” she asks.
“I don’t know. I… I… Oh Tiff! Ryan just brought me roses!”
“What? You’re kidding me! Oh my gosh, I can’t believe that! Wait a minute. Why are you crying?”
“Because we’ve always agreed we were just friends! We haven’t always acted like it, but we’ve always agreed to it! We can never go back from this!”
“They’re roses. What’s to go back from?”
“What will happen now? Will we hug? Will we kiss? Will we break each others’ hearts?” I glance at the locked up heart picture on my wall. I envision the wall crumbling, leaving the heart vulnerable.
“How can I even have a conversation with him now? Already everything is becoming impossibly awkward! Tiff, I don’t know what I’m doing.”
“I could tell you, but you won’t believe it. You’re crying because someone gave you roses.”
I choke on my tears and laugh at the observation. Tiffany and I proceed to dissect and evaluate every minute detail as only 15 year old best friends can do.
In the end, it’s my parents that help me figure out what I should do. After all, his chess move has been made, and I’m left to take my time and study the board now. We decide I should reciprocate the Valentine’s Day gift giving. I make a giant heart shaped cookie, and endure another quick and stilted exchange at his front door. I walk down our street, toward home, feeling energized.
There now Ryan, it’s your turn again, and the queen is vulnerable. What’s your next move?

Author's Note: The pictures were taken this morning. I saved the card, of course, and also the heart with the wall around it. Does this surprise anyone??? :)

Monday, April 18, 2011

My True Love Story

Day 370ish, The Bridge Incident

No more than a block from my house is a place we call “the woods”. This is quite an accurate description of the field where trees and bushes grow at will, right where God put them, and the only reason that “the woods” are in our subdivision is because suburbia was forced upon them.
A creek runs through the woods, sometimes rushing and sometimes moseying as it nurtures a host of cottonwood trees, which Ryan hates because of allergies, but which I love because they send little puffs of fairy dust floating around on the wind.
The woods are shared by reverent animal wildlife and irreverent young human wildlife, but there is room for the deer tracks and the bike trails. One hundred steps in and you forget that you’re just a jog away from a paved road and reality. The woods are home to countless fond memories, millions of portals into the imagination, thousands of hiding places and hundreds of boyhood constructions projects. One such project is about to become quite significant to me.
It’s a warm, sunny afternoon and my step is light. This idea of giving up steady boyfriends has freed my spirit and given me a sense of independence, has freed my time and allowed Ryan and I to talk and laugh and be. I impulsively recommended that we take a walk to the woods on our way home from the bus stop and we do, stopping for Ryan to point out the locations of and describe in double-over-laughing detail, his personal antics in the woods.
I am never a risk taker, I don’t have that sense of indestruction that others my age have, so it shocks and amuses me to hear him tell of the time he started a fire in these dry weeds and found himself desperately clawing at the hardened clay of summer for dirt to put out the flames. I feel a side of me like a heroine from a Jane Austen book brimming to the surface, finding joy in good company and an entertaining tale, while tingling with a sense of adventure and my own potential.
“Snow Hut (this is a knick-name for our friend, Jeremy, as nobody goes by their given name in Ryan’s vocabulary) has been putting in hours on a bridge he says he’s building out here,” Ryan tells me.
“A bridge?”
“Yeah. He says he’s building it from bailing twine.”
“That orange rope stuff?”
“Well… we simply must find it!” I say with a giggle.
We do find it as we journey along, searching the tree branches for glimpses of bright orange. We discover the bridge to be a well thought out labor of love, beginning at the top of an old rotted fence post, and leading high up into a tall tree. There is one strand of bailing twine for walking on, should you manage the balancing act, and smaller pieces attaching it to two other long strands, hung at waist height, for holding onto.
“I’m going to walk on it!” This I declare in my voice, but I hear it in the accent and cadence of that inner Jane Austen heroine.
“Absolutely not! It isn’t safe,” Ryan says.
This from the boy who has nearly burned these woods to the ground.
“I can do it!” I say, placing great faith in this twisted twine, no thicker around than my pinkie finger.
The first order of business is to hoist myself onto the weathered fence post, which is wide enough to provide solid footing for at least one of my feet. Ryan’s demands that I forget this crazy notion continue, while I wobble atop the rounded wood like a drunken flamingo.
I take my first step onto the precarious twine. It creeks and lowers under my weight. My next foot follows the first. The bridge is holding me!
The tone of Ryan’s protests turns from demanding to cajoling, “Amie, really. You’ve got to come down. You could fall and get hurt.”
Doesn’t he realize his loving concern for me is only giving me wings? How can I fall when I’m light as air? I continue to place one foot in front of another… very carefully. My hands grip the twine railings. My tongue peeks out and rests on my upper lip in concentration.
Ryan stands below me, arms poised at the ready, cautious eyes not resting to blink.
I’m three quarters of the way up the bridge before long, and I’ve yet to give thought to my destination.
Ryan says, “What will you do when you get to the top? I don’t think you can climb down that tree.”
I waver a little as I take my eyes off of my next step. I survey the tree. I’m no tree climber, and therefore, certainly no tree descender. That is not my way down.
“You’re right” I say, looking down directly into Ryan’s upturned face and watching its tension give way to momentary relief. “I’m going to have to walk backwards down the bridge.”
My left foot returns to its previous placement, then my right. “You see,” I say, still considering this a grand victory, “I told you I could-“
My triumphant statement dies with a sudden jolt! The twine at my feet has snapped and I drop through the air like a plastic toy paratrooper whose strings have gotten tangled.
I feel Ryan’s capable arms, heroic and sure, wrap around my waist and help my feet touch the ground. Then immediately I feel them retreat and I hear his voice rush out from a swiftly closing throat, “Oh my gosh. Take care of yourself.”
It is only after hearing and feeling with such clarity that I realize I can’t see. When the twine at my feet broke, the two handrails pulled taut against my sides, grabbing my shirt and pulling it straight up as I fell through! The twine, my hands, and my lifted shirt, are all twisted about my head in a humiliating knot, my bare stomach and innocent white bra are experiencing the cool breeze of the outdoors and the hot sting of embarrassment as they never have.
I yank and twist with desperation, pull my hands free and shirt down in one speedy motion. My eyes, at last unveiled fly to Ryan, eager to see a reaction they also dread!
His back is turned to me. His hands are held open above his shoulders in the act of having dropped a weapon and declared surrender. He directs his next words to me over his shoulder. “Are you alright?” he asks.
Well, let’s see. The courageous, Jane Austen heroine has fallen to the ground, frayed and frazzled like the ends of the broken twine, her cheeks a brighter shade of red than the twine is orange. However, her spirit is not quite broken. A touched smile creeps between her warm cheeks at the sight of her gentlemen friend, decently turning his back to her indiscretions.
“I’m okay,” I say. “You can turn around now. If..if you… want to.”
“You’re okay?” he asks, turning and taking a step toward me.
I bring my cool hands up to my cheeks, then look down and tug at the bottom of my shirt for good measure. “I’m sorry,” I say, “That was… embarrassing.”
With no other excuse to look elsewhere, my eyes finally meet his. We break into laughter.
“I can’t believe that happened!” I say, my fight or flight instinct urges my feet to walk back toward civilization and my feet obey.
“There’s the next entry for that journal you keep,” Ry says, following me.
“This is not an incident I care to commemorate!”
“Uh… do you really think I’m ever going to let you forget it?”
We laugh again, a bit nervously. We can’t think of much to say. What can you say when you’ve shown and he’s seen things never shown and seen before?
We’re almost back to the road that leads home when the heroine creeps back in with a sly smile and I say, “I know one thing, I’m not getting back on that bridge until Jeremy makes it sturdier!”
Ryan’s eyes fly to my face in bewildered horror to see my goading smile.
“You are never walking on that bridge again!” He says, laughing at my quip. “I don’t care if he makes it out of concrete and steel!”

Thursday, April 14, 2011

It's Only KINDA Real, So it's Okay

Everybody has to be a little wicked sometimes, and I like to let my wicked out when I watch reality TV. I judge, where normally I wouldn't judge. I enjoy the indiscretions of others, when normally I. Would. NEVER. ;) I figure it's all in the contract between me and the people who signed up to have their lives on display. So... let's be wicked and have a little fun. American Idol My favorite Idol contestant, and this is not going to be a popular opinion, is STEFANO! I think his good looks are working against him. Admit it, you would all vote for him if he looked like this: Or dressed like this: I’m here to stand up for the beautiful people. The ones who you look at and think, “I’m not the least bit surprised to hear a gorgeous voice coming out of that gorgeous person, therefore I’m not voting for them.” Hey listen! Attractive people need votes too, just as much as those who have untamable facial hair or dress unfortunately. Rock the HOT vote! My least favorite Idol is: …and it’s weird, because I usually like anybody that will stick to their own standards, but gospel music is just too…. bouncy for me. Plus when he moves he reminds me of a duck, preening and thinking from time to time about taking flight. Take a look and try to dispute that.
Dancing with the Stars.

Can we please talk about Ralph Machio… aka, Daniel Son. I will forever love him… even though he still looks so much like Daniel Son that the signal from my brain to my eyes gets mixed up and for a moment I almost confuse it with my innate pedophile warning. Over the weeks though, I’ve come to realize that there is no real pedophile danger. My mind is just having a hard time computing what the eyes are seeing. The ears struggle too. I hear him dedicate dances to his wife and I’m like, “Wait a second, where’s ‘Alli with an i’? Shouldn’t you two be giving the old family car a good push and then jumping in just in time for your mom to drive you both to the arcade?”

I also want Ralph to have more attitude than he does. I mean, Daniel Son was BAD. He had GRIT! I must admit I got a little thrill when Ralph swore last week on the show and they had to bleep him. He and Jacob Lusk both need a little less: And a little more:
But my FAVORITE couple from Dancing with the Stars is Maks and Kirstie! What girl in this world is still trying to resist Maks after his leg buckled two weeks ago and he got back up and winced his way through pain to deliver for his partner. Survivor Boston Rob is both my favorite and my least favorite. He’s genius, but his thirst for power might bring him down. I mean, let your team eat a little fish, wouldja??? Plus, I love Matt. Poor, sweet, naïve, notalickasense Matt. My main hope for every reality show is for someone to find reality show love. After recent events, my hopes for these two are shattered …unless she gets sent to Redemption Island and there’s a terrible rainstorm in which their shelter blows away and they must escape into each other’s arms for protection from the raging storm and use each other’s bodies for heat in the bitter cold…. but that probably won’t happen… and hasn’t happened… in my imagination… or anything… So... what do ya think? Am I right???

Monday, April 11, 2011

My True Love Story

Day 340ish

“You see! I told you! It’s fun sitting in the middle of the road,” I say to Ryan as I sit across from him, indian style, in the middle of the street in front of my house. “Tara and I always meet here for our chats.”

This spot is midway between my house and Tara’s and we are certain of our cleverness, meeting here or on the roof of her garage to talk about boys.

“Oh, yeah,” Ryan answers, with a teasing grin, “As sitting goes, this is some particularly fun sitting right here.”

I smile back and swat his shoulder with the back of my hand.

“You can’t beat the view,” I say, leaning back on my arms and looking at the night sky, so clear in our little, out of the way, town that you can believe it’s possible to touch the stars.

He doesn’t say anything, but he’s looking at me, not at the stars.

“R and I broke up,” I say.

B was the last boy, now it’s R… or it was R, and now that’s over too. Try to keep up with the comings and goings of a fickle teenager.

“And here I thought that one was gonna last and last,” Ryan says with a fed up eye roll.

“Okay, I admit R and I are very different, but I was just trying to have ‘fun’.
Remember that all important element, oh wise one? Anyway, I still don’t regret my first kiss. R and I were heavy on the imperfection, but my first kiss was just as perfect as I always insisted it would be.”

“As it turns out, I’m not very interested in the details,” Ryan says, giving a piece of gravel a hard chuck against a far gutter with enough force to make a direct hit.

“Oh. Right. I get that. Hey- you kissed your girlfriend you know!”

“I did. You wanna hear all about it?”

“Gee, I’d like to, but I’m busy clawing the tar off the road with my bare fingernails so that I can stuff it into my ears.”

The corners of his mouth turn up, chasing all sarcasm from his face.

“Aren’t you glad that we can talk to each other?” I ask, “And do the fun sitting in the middle of the road? I’m glad we haven’t ruined this.”

“What do you mean, ‘ruined it’?” he asks.

“Well, it’s not like I’ll be sitting anywhere, fun or otherwise, with R anymore. In fact, if R were to be found sitting in the middle of the road somewhere I’d hope I was behind the wheel of a nearby vehicle.” I could hear the engine revving now.

“I’m done with boyfriends for awhile,” I continue. “I drew a picture of a heart with a lock on it and a thick brick wall wrapping all of the way around it and a whole bunch of famous quotes about heartbreak and I hung it up on my bedroom wall.”

Ryan isn’t laughing when he says, “Really. Wow, that’s… funny.”

“Oh, I know. Heartbreak is a real chuckle,” I say.

“Heartbreak isn’t a chuckle. The idea that you’ll lock up your heart is. I don’t think your particular heart can be restrained.”

I risk a look into his blue eyes. I think about dancing in the snow. I think about a summer spent laughing and talking. I think about church dances, his hands on my waist, my arms around his neck. I think about this warm fall night, “fun sitting” in the middle of the road, under a dark sky, sprinkled generously with glittering stars. I think about how I’ll say goodnight soon and go in my house, leaving him with nothing more than a friendly wave.

“You’d be surprised,” I say.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Do you make a list every day? I make about three a day. One is for groceries. One is for the day’s responsibilities. One is for the future.
You might think I would get depressed after a year or two goes by and the same darn item remains un-crossed off on my future list, but I’m content with the idea of “eventually”. I like to do what I say I will do. Even if the only person I’ve said it to is me. When I finally DO the future list item, I can’t bring myself to be disgusted that it has taken a long time. I’m proud of eventually. Eventually is a whole lot better than not at all.
Ryan Edward and I went to an estate auction last weekend. We love antiques. We prefer modern décor, but we love the stories and the lessons behind antiques. I saw a lot of life in those items. The people who owned them had accomplished things. They were from a generation of hard workers. They discovered what mattered to them and surrounded themselves with those things. They probably worked to do it. I saw pretty little old hats. I saw antique toys. I saw beloved collections. I saw this anitique typewriter. I saw a sketching of a half naked man and I joked to Ryan Edward that it was the one item I HAD to have.

As I looked at the belongings of these people, there wasn’t a hustle bustle feeling. The rat race had slowed considerably. There was a quiet, Sunday afternoon feeling. A walk in the park. A thoughtful passage from a book. An intimate dinner by candlelight. The study of an old coin under a microscope. An eventually kind of feeling. A forgiving kind of feeling.
Motivation is necessary and so is peace.

I recently painted my living room. I’ve been planning on doing it for a very long time and then wouldn’t you know it, my living room’s "eventually" finally came around. I think it’s a pretty good illustration of both motivation and peace.

The picture of Jesus, priceless to us, was a Christmas gift from my Mom and Dad the year Dad had his heart attack. The candlesticks are real silver, a sentimenal purchase made by Ryan Edward to remind us of the lessons in Les Miserables. This wall is my brain child. Not a lot of meaning other than I dreamed it up in my head and made it happen. The sunburst coming from the mirror was painted onto the wall by hand and adds another dimension and bit of drama that we are really happy with! I painted the vases on the sides as well.

Monday, April 4, 2011

My True Love Story

Day 140ish

I’m moving through the glass doors of our church fitting well into a group of raucous and haphazard teenage boys and girls after another church activity. Each of us is talking at once and thinking that the others are listening. We’re well into winter now and the cold nights welcome dark earlier than they used to. As I push open the second in the set of doors leading to the outside, whatever silly sentence I’m in the middle of dies in my throat and is forgotten. The chatter of the others is a muted noise, for here in the early darkness of winter, the streetlamps of the church have turned on to light our way and are providing a magical glow to thousands of fluffy, grand snowflakes as they float gently from heaven.
This is the sort of scene that captivates my mind and always will, the sort that speaks to my heart and makes me giddy and stoic at once. In wonder, I descend the steps and stand under the street light. I turn and see Ryan with me. The others, the noisy ones, are somewhere yelling about the snow, catching it on their tongues, building it into balls and throwing it at each other. Ryan is watching me watch the snowflakes fall.
“Can you ballroom dance?” I ask, because I know that the question will be endearing to him, if a little frivolous.
“I know the box step we learned in elementary school,” he says.
“I wonder if we can still do it,” I say, and the next thing either of us knows, his hand is resting on my hip. For the first time ever, my hand is held gently in his hand. Our feet start moving as though we do this all of the time, and I feel like I’m Ginger Rogers with some lovely white evening gown all feathery at the bottom that blends with and brushes the snowy ground until it looks like I’m floating on air.
I stop counting my steps, he stops thinking about which foot goes forward and which goes back. Dancing together is too easy. We look up and we watch the snowflakes, large as coins, but light as air, simple and intricate as the notes in a composition as they grace our ballroom floor. The streetlamp is a spotlight to their dancing and to ours.
Then we look at each other. As quickly as the crystalline flakes land and disappear I seem to glimpse memories of us.
I see myself in my school classroom, opening my folder to find a note from him.
I see myself standing nervously on his doorstep holding orange juice wrapped in a bow the day I found out that he was home sick with the cold that I had just recovered from.
I see him tell me that I look like Demi Moore from the movie Ghost and insist we watch it together.
I see our friend Jerry pull me aside and say, “You like him. We can all tell.” “We’re just friends,” I answer. “Maybe for now,” Jerry insists, “but you’ll get together someday.”
I see Ryan looking at me, attracted, and telling me that I’m wearing his favorite sweatshirt. The one that makes my eyes look extra sparkly. “I’m going to have to call you ‘Sparky’,” he says, and I know whenever he calls me that thereafter, that he’s noticing my eyes.
These memories of my friend, my neighbor, my “fiancé” are falling on me like magic. They fall on my shoulders, on my hair and in my lashes and they make me see him. I see him as he is- the most brilliant thing in this wonderland. I think I even see a glimmer of him as he will be, though at 15 years old there’s no way of knowing that your soul is whispering a memory to you.
It’s only minutes that we dance this way before one of our leader yells to all of us that it’s time to get in the car. Even as we let go of each other and move to the parking lot, I’m still drifting in that evening gown of mine. The car fills up fast and there are more of us than there are seats. Ryan offers his lap, and I accept. The noisy ones are crammed around us now, but I still don’t hear a thing. Reality tries in vain to remind me of my determination to remain friends, of the awkwardness of this physical proximity if we are only friends, but just for tonight, it could no more rob the sparkle from my eyes than it could rob the snowflakes from the sky.