Most of us can look back on our lives and remember a fond moment in our past when we were mesmerized by snow. It was magical back then, and if nothing else, we were excited not to attend school and get an extra day off, but when one class in Florida has never experienced the fluffy stuff, a teacher steps in to give them a gift they soon won’t forget.
In November, a class of kindergartners listened closely as their educator, Robin Hughes, read them a book about snow. The Riverview, Fla., special curriculum educator flipped through its pages and showed them photographs of kids having fun, making snow angels, and sledding. Hughes took note of a few students who looked confused.
“How many of you have seen snow?” Hughes asked her class at SouthShore Charter Academy. When only a couple of kids raised their hands, she couldn’t believe the responses. “I was shocked that they had not seen snow,” Hughes, who grew up in Louisa, KY., told TWP. “It’s hard for kids to understand the concept because they don’t have the relevant knowledge.”
That’s when Hughes had an idea. She called her sister for a favor who resides in Danville, KY.
“Do you want to build a snowman?” Hughes messaged her sister, Amber Estes, in January. Estes reviewed her sister’s solicitation when her town was hit with around 10 inches of snow.
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That single text would lead Estes to construct “Lucky,” an itty-bitty flawed but still great snowman she collected that January evening. Days after the fact, she sent the snowman, complete with blueberries for eyes, two twigs for arms, and a carrot for a nose, on an upwards of an 800-mile long journey to Florida in a protected container loaded with ice packs. Hughes and the whole class of kindergarteners eagerly anticipated Lucky’s big reveal.
“He’s here!” He’s here!” the school’s secretary yelled through the halls when the package was finally delivered.
In the event that Lucky showed up as intended – intact, the arrangement was for him to keep his name, Estes, 59, told The Post. Yet, if the tiny snowman had arrived as a mess of water, he would have been named Puddles.
Estes, accustomed to her sister’s peculiar requests, laughed it off and concurred. She said she thought there was no way Kentucky would get snow sufficiently thick enough to roll up a snowman, and she was much more incredulous that she could get one to Florida in tip-top shape.
“I felt exceptionally certain that I wouldn’t need to satisfy this test, so I acknowledged,” she told The Post.
Yet, Estes’ climate forecasts were pretty off. But then, on the evening of Jan. 8, her area was canvassed with almost 10 inches of snow! Estes realized her sister would ultimately figure out it had snowed more than enough to satisfy her request.
She ventured on, scooping the snow and shaping it into a small snowman, creating Lucky right outside of her home.
Next, she sent an image to Hughes, and after around ten days of refrigeration and arranging, Lucky was on his way from Kentucky to Florida, Estes said. It costs $78.00 to expedite the snowman through the U.S. Postal Service if you ever plan on sending your own snowman through the mail.
From that point forward, she stayed up late tracking the cold package. “It sounds silly, but I get emotional talking about it because I knew when I sent him, I would never see him again,” Estes said.
Estes was cheering on Lucky the entire time, and on Jan. 19, a mailman delivered Lucky to the SouthShore Charter Academy. Estes immediately called her sister, saying in tears: “Oh my gosh, he made it!”
Now, no less than twice a day, Hughes said she brings Lucky out from the cafeteria cooler on a silver plate so the kindergarteners can feel the snowman while asking questions. Every time Lucky is shown off, the room is filled with awes, coos, and wows, and whenever he begins to get shiny due to heating up, he goes back to the freezer to cool off.
“In a time when things are not normal for kids in the classroom and for adults…this little snowman has created happiness,” Hughes said.