Snowflakes in a matchbox

One of the great things about re-reading a well-loved book is that you discover things each time, depending on your frame of mind. I’m reading Dandelion Wine again, as I do almost every summer. This time, I discovered this little gem.

“Got a snowflake in a matchbox,” said Tom …

“Last February,” said Tom, and chuckled. “Held a matchbox up in a snowstorm, let one old snowflake fall in, ran inside the house, stashed it in the icebox!”

“Yes, sir,” mused Tom, picking grapes, “I’m the only guy in Illinois who’s got a snowflake in summer. Precious as diamonds by gosh. Tomorrow I’ll open it. Doug, you can look too.”

It’s perhaps the best metaphor for memories that I’ve ever encountered. My memories are snowflakes in matchboxes. When I go back for them, so often they’re not there, or they have melted a little.

Some folks, like Mrs. Bentley, hang on to those memories, and when they melt, they have nothing left. Others, like Colonel Freeleigh, share their snowflakes with everyone, and make the world a better place by doing so.

My snowflakes seem to surprise me in the middle of the summer. I don’t remember putting them in the ice box, and, some day, when I’m looking for something else, I come across them.