The question that keeps on asking

Snow started to cover my small town and spun everyone into an impending apocalypse-like frenzy whose only apparent cure was to close everything people could still drive to.
Closings included the university where I work, my son’s elementary school, and various municipal buildings that contain people my tax dollars pay to be in on a workday.
It’s winter and there’s snow on the ground. Obviously winter is the sort of thing that surprises people in Missouri every winter when winter traditionally occurs; you know, in winter. I’m sure people in Wisconsin – who are aware of seasons like winter – are laughing at us.
Then I did something I would immediately regret, I said just that.
“Why?” my three-year-old asked from her car seat in the back of the minivan, dumping my brain into a bucket.
Oh, dear lord. She asked the question. THE question. The question that throws even strong parents weeping into the fetal position. What do I do?
I took a deep breath and answered the question.
“They closed everything because there’s snow on the roads, honey,” I told her.
“Why?” she asked.
“Because it’s winter.”
“Because winter happens every year,” I said, and hoping too much information would be just enough to distract her, I rambled. “It’s warm in spring when people plant flowers, it’s hot in summer when we go to the swimming pool, it’s cool in fall when Daddy yells at football on TV, and it’s cold in winter when it snows.”
A moment of silence …
“Because,” I repeated, starting to sweat, “it gets cold in winter and it snows.”
I had to change my approach.
“That’s just the way it is,” I said firmly, but there must have been doubt in my voice. She sensed weakness.
I was in trouble, the kind of trouble gazelles feel when limping through lion country. I had to stop the madness.
“Because,” I said in a British accent – everything sounds more intelligent in a British accent, “in winter, even though the northern hemisphere is closer to the sun, the earth is tilted on its axis in such a way the sun rises low in the sky so its rays don’t shine on us as directly as in summer or for as long a period. That’s why it’s cold and that’s why precipitation falls to earth as snow.”
She paused for a moment, considering my words, perhaps contemplating the paths of the stars in the heavens. Maybe even …
“Why?” she asked.
“Because,” I said, “Frufanhoopenhoppers from the planet Mars don’t like bacon.”
“Oh,” she said, then stopped.
I smiled. I’d won, and I’d beaten the best.
“I love you, honey,” I said.
You can order Jason’s books on the paranormal, “Darkness Walks: The Shadow People Among Us,” and “Haunted Missouri: A Ghostly Guide to Missouri’s Most Spirited Spots,” at

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