A Snowball's Chance


I love this picture by Arthur J. Eisley, 1860-1952 (as I love all paintings that tell a story, that suggest and probe); not sure why. Perhaps the early snowfall that year made me think of it. The kids - snowballs ready, lie in wait to pelt the old man. The painting is called, 'Hold up/Here He Comes.'

The aged traveler is unaware. His dog is alert, however, standing stock-still, worried, protective, ready to defend, if not too bark and scold. The smaller dog seems bemused and unaware of what they intend, enjoying perhaps their muffled laugher, their eager waiting.

The naughty boy, ready for torment, hands a fully formed ball to the golden haired girl, perhaps his sister. Delighted, she reaches for it, unaware of its potential danger, its cold welcome.

What is the old man carrying? Like a shepherd he trudges through the cold and snow, staff in hand, carrying his burden, his bundles - it's clearly not a sheep.

What’s in the bag? Gifts, food, belongings? Perhaps it's Grandad bringing treasures at Christmas, his Santa beard white with age and frost. It is bleak mid-winter. The dogs are alert, the children eager to play They wait.

The adventure Is about to begin. What difference will it make?

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