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When Blair was seven, he and two friends were lured into a snowball fight by the local toughs. It didn't matter that the boys were older, stronger and outnumbered Blair's group five to three. They'd further tipped the scales in their favor by making and hiding a cache of snowballs. Before Blair, Teddy and Nicholas could form their first snowballs, they were inundated and soundly trounced. The snow on Blair's skin melted as he trudged home, making him shiver. Naomi clucked over him, stoking a fire and making cocoa. But that experience cemented his belief that he hated cold, wet weather.

Over the years, he complained about the cold and wet. When he had a choice, he selected expeditions to the warm rainforests of Asia and South America. Yet, curiously, he chose to attend college and do post-grad work in Cascade, where the weather was often cold and wet, and where he habitually complained about it.

As Blair meditated, he went back to that long-ago snowball battle and recognized it as being the source for many of his perceptions. He let go of the old hurts and beliefs to make way for new patterns. As he surfaced to consciousness, he smiled and blew out the candles.

"Ready to go?" Jim asked as Blair came out of their bedroom at the Mt. Baker ski lodge.

"Yeah," Blair answered as he looked out the window. The sun was shining brightly on fresh snow. He opted for a skull cap, sure that he would be warm enough and far less likely to suffer ridicule than if he wore his Fargo hat. "What's on the agenda?" he asked, as he donned a light-weight jacket.

"The slopes this morning to catch the newest snow, then lunch with Simon and Rebecca. After that, we're meeting up with Daryl, Sonia and a couple of their friends at one of the hiking trails." Jim looked at Blair. "Rumor has it Daryl's going to challenge us to a snowball fight--the whippersnappers versus the geezers." Jim pulled him into a one-armed embrace. "What do you say, old man, are you up for it?"

Blair reached up to give Jim a long kiss, filled with the promise of more intimate activities that night. "You bet. Those kids aren't going to know what hit 'em."


~~the end~~