It’s always a treat to look out our north-facing windows after a storm such as the one earlier this week and see the distant San Gabriels dusted with snow. Not counting this past Thanksgiving weekend in Death Valley with its various blanketed mountain ranges, nor my trudge through the slush at the summit of the park’s 11,049-foot Telescope Peak the day before my 42nd birthday, the quick-melting vistas framed by our windows are literally as close as I’ve regularly come to the stuff since a weird winter trip in the mid-80s to Lake Arrowhead when some friends and I drove all freaking day pretty much to throw a snowball and play some video games and then drive home.

For my only white Christmas celebrated I have to hop in the wayback machine to the magical one spent with my aunt, uncle and cousins in Chattanooga, Tennessee, when I was seven.

So foreign is the substance to me that I can remember an episode in my pre-teens, coming home from a cold morning’s deliveries of my Hancock Park-adjacent-adjacent Herald Examiner paper route and rushing in to urge my mom to come see the patch of snow I’d passed that must’ve fallen overnight a couple doors down from us in the alley behind the duplex we were living in a couple blocks south of Melrose. Reluctantly she followed me outside, took one look at the pile of slush on the ground and promptly schooled me on what in reality was the dumped remains of a neighbor’s freezer frost before heading back inside shaking her head wondering what kind of urban idiot she’d raised.

Well, I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to replace all those variousdistant and weak and lame encounters with a mind-blowing one of literal snow-overload in less than two weeks when mom, Susan and I head to the winter-fied wonderland of  Yosemite National Park not only to experience its magnificence for the first time courtesy my mom, but also to enjoy the Awahnee Hotel’s famed Bracebridge Dinner, an extravagant tradition since the historic place opened back in 1927.

The once-in-a-lifetime event has long been on my mom’s list of things to do, but tickets for the dinner are on a first-served basis and historically sell out quickly. This was evidenced at the end of 2007 when in the week after that year’s Christmas I called and found it already sold out for the next one. Somewhat skeptically, in May of this far more troubled economic year, I visited the website and found space still available. So I called my mom and she said let’s do it, and reservations were done for what I expect will be our most amazing Christmas ever.