Quiet anniversary is perfect for Bob and Susan Manzke

Susan Manzke
Susan and Bob at the Manzke family thanksgiving celebration.

On December 1, Bob and I observed our 46th wedding anniversary. As usual, we didn’t celebrate in any big way. Mostly we watched the snowstorm out our kitchen window.

When it came time to check on our five chickens, I found the morning lovely, considering it was still snowing. I returned to the house for my camera and wandered around the yard capturing the beauty of the snowy day.

Barn cats had left footprints as they came to the house that morning for their breakfast. A couple stayed on the porch, relaxing on a cushion where the snow wasn’t hitting. The rest dispersed after filling their bellies to hunker down in the barn.

I stopped inside the barn and looked out at the winter scene that surrounded me. This was something I loved to do when I was a kid. It always seemed a magical place inside a barn, observing the change of season.

There was no wind at this time and the temperature was right at freezing so the snow was perfect for packing. I packed some snow in my hands and then bent over to roll it in the accumulation of snow—about six inches at this point. The kid in me really took over.

I started to roll the base for a snowman. My first thought was to place my snowperson in the back of our house, where only family would see it. But why hide it? Everyone would think we had grandchildren visiting and that’s why the snowman got built. Unless they drove by while I was working, no one would know I was the builder—until they read this column.

Anyway, I kept rolling around the side of the house. When I got to the front yard the ball had a three-foot diameter. It was getting heavy and harder to roll. This turned out to be the perfect place to stop and anchor it to the ground.

The next ball picked up a lot of leaves that I kept brushing off—basswood leaves are quite large and don’t disintegrate too easily. There are actually some leaves still attached to the tree so the snow was and is hanging onto the branches.

I made sure I didn’t make the second ball too big as I had to lift it myself.

The third, the head, was easy and I stepped back to observe my creation. What I saw was one lonely snowman. I had to give it a mate and then there would be two, one for Bob and one for me.

Susan Manzke built two snow people - one for Bob and one for herself - on the couple's 46th wedding anniversary.

The second snowperson picked up more leaves as I had to roll it from the other side of the lawn. Now I had maple leaves adding to my creation. In the end, I used the leaves to form eyes for my snowpeople.

I remembered seeing a few fallen sticks when I was working and brought them to be arms. Little pieces made noses and mouths. My creations still needed things that would bring them to life. At this point, I went into the house for one of Bob’s caps. For my white person, I brought out a scarf.

I then asked Bob to come outside on this lovely day for an anniversary photo and he obliged—Bob had no idea I had built us each a snowman.

It was my plan to have both of us in the photo with our snowmen. That meant a tripod and camera with a timer.

After snapping the camera shutter, I had to hurry through the heavy snow to join Bob in our photo—I took two to make sure and then we went back into the comfort of the house.

Our anniversary was quiet, especially since the snow muffled the world around us. But it was perfect because we were together.

Susan and Bob Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165;;