“Do you want to build a snow man? Come on, let’s go and play.”
If you have young children or grandchildren, there is a chance you are familiar with the addictive song “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” from the Disney’s animated classic movie “Frozen.” As part of Disney’s family of masterpieces, “Frozen” tells the story through song and unique Disney storytelling style of the relationship between two sisters, Queen Elsa and Princess Anna.
Elsa has a magical superpower of turning anything she touches into ice. Not knowing how to handle her ice-making superpowers, Elsa accidentally injures her younger sister Anna — almost killing her. Their parents decide to keep the sisters apart and put Elsa in isolation for most of her life.
At the ages of 5, 9 and 15, Anna pleadingly sings to her younger sister … “Do you want to build a snowman?” through the door of the room where Elsa has been isolated.
Anyone who has been missing someone special can probably guess the emotional intention of the song “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” It reminds me of moments I wish I could have one more time. I wish my mom were still here to ask, “Want me to help brush your hair.” Or have my grandmother ask, “Mijo, please help me take the laundry down from the clothesline?” Or have my wife, Susie, ask one more time, “Want to go shopping with me?”
Asking, “Do you want to build a snowman?” has the same nostalgic pull.
As Disney perhaps designed, the “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” song is a lesson in remembering how important the smallest gestures can be, and can be taken for granted.
The question to Disney’s song “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” was answered and recently came to life in my front yard.
Charles Ortiz, 67, asked his two sons, “Do you want to go get snow to build a snowman?” His two sons, Freddie, 40, and Carlos, 47, who is my son-in-law, answered “yes.” All three drove to Tehachapi and loaded freshly fallen snow into Charles’ truck bed.
The next morning, there they were, unloading the snow in my front yard. All three were laughing, joking and anxious to put the final touches on their snowman masterpiece. As I sat and watched them unload the snow, there were the traditional snowball fights and untraditional stories about hitting ice golf balls into the snowfield. I was amazed and happy at the child-like joy shared by the three grown men.
Any adult-like responsibilities had vanished for those precious few minutes of building a snowman. It was like a mystical snow wand had been waved over the father and sons and the fun activity of building a snowman had magically transformed Charles into a young father and Freddie and Carlos into children instead of grown men.
Carlos explained to me later he had never built a snowman with his dad.
The final version of their snowman, who I nicknamed Olaf, was 6 feet tall and came replete with a Southern California straw hat, beach sunglasses, decorative rocks instead of coal, branches for arms and my old Broadway Department Store business tie instead of a red scarf.
Olaf drew the attention of our neighbors and cars passing by. We happily caught our mailman taking a selfie with Olaf. If you have neighbors who you have not spoken to in a long time, build a real snowman in your front yard. It’s a great conversational piece.
Each day after Olaf was built, the weather slightly warmed and 6 feet slowly melted into 4 feet, that turned into 2 feet. Eventually, all that remained were the hat, tie and branches on top of a small pile of ice. I didn’t have the heart to remove any of these items from my lawn. My kind gardener performed the coup de grace and piled all that remained on my front porch bench.
Olaf may have melted away, but I will always remember the joyous sight of Charles and his sons building a snowman together.
So if anyone else asks, “Do you want to build a snowman?” I hope your answer is yes.
Email contributing columnist Steve Flores at firstname.lastname@example.org. His work appears here every third Monday; the views expressed are his own.