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  • Writer's pictureTerry Groves

B.R.A.T.S. Tony and Dale's Igloo

It's not every day that you hear about a dad building an igloo for his two infant sons, but that's exactly what my dad did for my youngest brothers. After a big snow dump, he constructed an impressive structure in our backyard. It was last winter we spent in the Jameswood Drive PMQ on the air base in Winnipeg. I recall Dad piling the snow up in the backyard and then tamping it down so he could dig a cave out of the mound. We called it an igloo since it was a little house made of snow.

The end result was amazing, the rest of us brothers were jealous. Mom brought out Tony and Dale, who were just babies, in their snowsuits and put them side by side in what we thereafter always called their igloo. Tony and Dale were as delighted as babies can be.

And then they took a photo of them. Today this wouldn't be such a big deal but back in 1963 it was. That photo lives in the family photo album and every time I see it I am taken back to the day Dad built Tony and Dale's igloo.

I never forgot this and I built one for my own kids many years later. To do theirs, as my kids were seven and nine, I inflated a large bag, watered it regularly until an ice shell developed, then carved an opening and deflated the bag. Once it snowed, I tamped the snow, completing the igloo. This one was large enough for them to stand in and lasted until spring.

When it started to look like it might collapse, I cut the top off, leaving it an open air snow fort. Let the snowball fights commence.

What brat experiences were you able to replicate in some way for your own children...or would like to?

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Do you love to read? Check out my books, Down the Tiger's Throat, a collection of my short stories, and The Summer of Grumps, a novel.

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Kat Hutson
Kat Hutson
Feb 13, 2023

My Dad used to build an ice rink in our front yard at Fort Henry Heights in Kingston. We would decide how big it would be, tramp down the snow then he would water it at night. I can still see him, in the cold dark front yard watering the ice surface..... They were great little rinks.

I made a small one for my oldest daughter and taught her how to skate on the small backyard ice rink. Now my Daughter makes Ice tunnels and things like this for her two. What memories these hold.

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