Snow Down Pants

This hub is a little longer then what I usually write on the Hub, at almost 1400 words, but, I hope you'll enjoy it. I tried to follow my rules about white space and a pleasant lay out.

This story is true and was inspired by the realization of the brevity of life and by strong feelings of nostalgia for incidents that happened years ago, but seem like recent occurrences. it's a little self indulgent but I hope you enjoy it anyway.

Either way, thank you for stopping by!





Snow Down Pants


For most of my childhood and into my teens, my favorite band was DC Talk. I saw them in concert seven times between 1990 and 1998 and, even though now I can see much of their music (especially their early “rap” years) was quite cheesy, I still have a love for them, if for no other reason than simple nostalgia. Even today, you will find me proudly blasting their music discreetly through my headphones or wearing one of the many t-shirts of theirs that I still own under a sweater.

I saw first saw them at the Childs Center in Portland, Oregon as an opening act for Michael W. Smith. It was the first time major concert I attended where my dad was not a performer. I would watch them perform and picture myself on stage, as a grown up, dancing and prancing and rapping about the Lord. They introduced me to the finer points of Christian rap and, more importantly, showed me that you can break out of molds and do something new, which they did with each album until their eventual break up. By then, I was a legal adult and they were headlining the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon.

In retrospect, this mold breaking attitude was the significance of their 1992 album, Free at Last , which was their first to really take them away from rap and hip hop and take them into the realms of soul, rock and dance. It won multiple Dove Awards, Christian music industry’s equivalent of a Grammy.

It’s also one of the first albums I associate strongly with specific events.

me at Christmas 1992. Wearing my California raisins sweatshirt, I was obviously poised for life as a rap star (seriously, I had the pose down)
me at Christmas 1992. Wearing my California raisins sweatshirt, I was obviously poised for life as a rap star (seriously, I had the pose down) | Source


It was New Years’ 1992. Our family friends, the Hybl’s and my family were spending a snowy holiday in a luxurious rented house in Sun River, Oregon. Free at Last had come out just before Christmas and Travis Hybl, my best friend, and myself, had each unwrapped the cassette around the Christmas tree just days earlier. For this long holiday weekend, we, along with one of my brothers and Travis’ sister Tiffany, would listen to the cassette between bouts of Tecmo Basketball and Tecmo Super Bowl on the Nintendo. Professional video game athletics was only a momentary distraction from our inevitable future careers as professional athletes, which was sure to happen, even though none of us had much in the way of athletic skill.

“Go outside. You’re in the mountains!” It doesn’t matter who said this. It could have been Travis’ grandparents, it could have been one of his parents or one or mine. “It’s snowy and beautiful outside. We didn’t drive all the way up here so you could play video games!”

We’d continue to play video games. There would always be time to play in the mountains, but only limited time to complete sixteen game football and eighty-two game basketball schedules.

When the elders finally commandeered the television for their own purposes, we would return to wearing out our DC Talk cassettes and quote from it, this time while playing with our new remote control cars, practicing for our future careers as Hollywood stunt drivers. We’d race them all through the large house and as they would skitter across the hard wood flooring. We’d build ramps and launch them up and down stairs, into windows and, when decided to brave the cold, over and into snow banks. The cars wouldn’t make it through the weekend, but our dreams of driving stunt cars would.

The album taught us phrases like “Flippin’ the wax”, “Luv is a verb”, “Can I get a witness?” and “She said I love to smoke and drink while cursin’ like a sailor” and was completely memorized after the fourth or fifth successive listen. We tortured our parents with our incessant recitations of our new vernacular.

“It could be worse,” my mom would say, between rants about how the country was doomed to imminent destruction when Bill Clinton was inaugurated as president the next month. “They could be listening to rap music and learning how to cuss.” We went to public school. Learning to cuss was a lot easier than putting on a cassette tape. My dad would remind her of this and my brothers and I were soon sent to private school.

sunriver house in winter
sunriver house in winter


At night, we kids would all go in the hot tub and hang out. We’d drink soda, talk about football, our “sweet” Christmas gifts, our Tecmo battles and how we wished we were done with school so we could be grownups and have our own money. We’d stay there for our hours, until our skin would wrinkle and our hands would itch and burn from prolonged exposure to heat and chlorine.

A new game was invented in the hot tub that long weekend, inspired directly by the album. The album title refers to the old Spiritual, Free at Last , which was especially prevalent during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s. DC Talk, as a group of mixed race, was always passionate about tackling the issue of racism, especially in America and was one of the first bands’ to really educate me on the subject. As a white middle class American growing up in northern white suburban America in the post-Civil Rights Era, I had no firsthand knowledge of segregation and had never been overtly hated for my race.

DC Talk used the spiritual as the chorus for their song. It began with an intro that was attempting to be humorous but which we found cheesy and mocked by singing in high pitched tones “Free at last. Free at last. I thank God I’m free at last.” We noticed that this phrase could be rhymed with the words “Snow down pants” and we began to sing these words along to the track. We then surmised that this might be a good name for a game

“Here’s how it goes,” I said. We were all in the hot tub, steam rising off our adolescent bodies because of the falling snow hitting the hot water of the tub. “You get out, you grab snow. You put it down your pants. You stand outside the tub, in your suit only, looking at us, all warm and cozy, while you sing Snow down pants. Snow down pants. I thank God for snow down pants . Whoever sings it the most times before getting back in, wins.”

We all agreed that this seemed like a good idea. I quickly won the first game, lasting a dominating six choruses, though it’s likely my victory was more the product of rapid onset hypothermia induced insanity then any sort of bravery or strength. We decided to escalate.

“Okay, now, you have to roll in the snow while singing Snow Down Pants.” Unaware of the risk of pneumonia and heart attack, this also seemed like a great idea and we immediately partook. I sat down on a snow bank and began to roll, immediately feeling tiny needles all over my body and sang the song through chattering teeth. I tried to distract myself from the intense shooting pain by looking at the way the massive trees framed the moon and obscured the stars. I thanked God it had stopped snowing so I only had to worry about the snow I was rolling in and then realized it probably actually made no difference. I made it one again through six choruses. Travis, being four years older and more bulky then the rest of us, but apparently having the same lack of sense, won this version of the game quite handily, lasting nine.

The contest was repeated nightly, with the same winners and losers each time. No one got sick and no one felt bad about losing, though we all cringed when we’d reenter the hot tub after our turn and feel the needles intensify all over our body and gasp as our hearts would momentarily stop.

By the time we left the house at the end of the week, our copies of Free at Last had worn out and been eaten by our boom boxes. Our parents, discovering our game on the final night of competition, had passionately educated us about the dangers of extreme temperature change on the human body and told us we were not allowed to play that game ever again.

Not that we cared. We were kids. We were immortal.

Thanks for Reading.

A FREELANCE WRITER, HONORS STUDENT AND GOVER PRIZE FINALIST, JUSTIN W. PRICE (AKA, PDXKARAOKEGUY) CONSIDERS HIMSELF A POET FIRST AND FOREMOST BUT IS ALSO A SHORT STORY, BIOGRAPHER AND HUMOR WRITER. HIS POETRY COLLECTION,DIGGING TO CHINA, WAS FEBRUARY 2ND, 2013 BY SWEATSHOPPE PUBLICATIONS AND IS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE ON AMAZON, BARNES AND NOBLE AND THROUGH YOUR LOCAL BOOKSELLER.

HIS WORK WILL ALSO BE FEATURED IN BEST NEW FICTION (2014 EDITION), AND HAS APPEARED PREVIOUSLY IN THE RUSTY NAIL, EFICTION, BURNINGWORD, THE CRISIS CHRONICLES, THE HELLROARING REVIEW, SEE SPOT RUN AND THE BELLWETHER REVIEW. HE CURRENTLY SERVES AS MANAGING EDITOR OFEPOETRY MAGAZINE AND THE BRIDGE ONLINE NEWSPAPER.

HE WORKS AS A FREELANCE WRITER, EDITOR, AND GHOST WRITER, AND IS WORKING TOWARDS HIS PH.D. HE LIVES IN A SUBURB OF PORTLAND, OREGON WITH HIS WIFE, ANDREA, THEIR LABRADOODLE, BELLA, SCHNOODLE, SAUVEE AND BLACK MOOR GOLDFISH, HOWARD WOLOWITZ.

PLEASE VISIT HIS PROFILE PAGE FOR MORE INFORMATION. THANKS!

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Comments 24 comments

PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks Ebower. I'm glad you enjoyed this and I hope it brought back some memories!


Ebower profile image

Ebower 4 years ago from Georgia

I listened to DC Talk for most of my childhood also. Haha; the things kids and specifically boys do for fun. This was funny and interesting. I voted it up and awesome!


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

aurelio, they do have the polar bear runs, where people run into the frigid waters in sub zero temperatures but, as far as I'm aware, snow down pants is a game unique to me :-)


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

I've never heard of this game -- sounds fairly entertaining. It's a good thing none of you caught anything rolling in the snow. Voting this Up and Interesting.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

well, audrey, that's probably the smart way to look at it :-)


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 4 years ago from California

So true! I still want to, I just don't plan on it!


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

thanks so much audrey.. it's true. when you're twelve, you plan on living forever!


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 4 years ago from California

I loved reading about your younger years---how invincible we feel as youngsters!


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks Ardie... I still have them on my mp3 player... old habits never die. Thanks for reading. Did you make it through????


Ardie profile image

Ardie 4 years ago from Neverland

Wait! I have to stop reading and scroll down so I dont forget to add this to my comment - just because you warned me it is a long one. I LOVED DC Talk when I was younger - forgot all about them :) Okay back to reading...


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Nell... i don't think he has a site... were you talking about this? http://www.billprice.info/ That's not him. If you wanna send me your e mail address I can send you some of his music :-) Thanks for checking it all out :-)


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

Serves me right for being nosy! haha! I just went of to explore the net to see your dad, and he wasn't on youtube but he does have a site, so I clicked on it, and, you have to realise its one thirty in the morning and everyone is asleep, as I clicked on the site, your dads music, one of his tunes burst out of my pc like a rocket taking off! lol! it was so loud and I couldn't turn it down! I nearly had to throw the stupid pc out the window! hee hee! so much for curiosity killed the cat, it nearly gave me a coronary!


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Debby, I was a stoe headed as they come...I ouldn't say I've survived all the torture, but i did survive that little snippet of pain and poor judgement. Thanks so much for reading and commenting. I'm glad you enjoyed this. I can't believe that 1992 was twenty years ago...


Debby Bruck profile image

Debby Bruck 4 years ago

Hello Justin ~ So sorry I've not read all your recent Hubs. You've been shooting them out so fast. First, "Cheesy is good!" These were great selections. Second, were you a 'toe-head' blonde? You did have to pose to rap like the pros. You guys were CRAZY WILD and reminds me of the Russians who go out in winter and jump into a hole in the ice or run into the freezing water to strengthen their immune system. Luckily, you lived through all the torture you gave your own body. Voted up. Blessings, Debby


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Hey Nell

my dad is Bill Price. He did make it over to your side of the pond a time or two, but I doubt you would have heard of him. He may have some videos on youtube but i don't know.

Thanks for reading and I'm glad you enjoyed this story!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

Hi, I love your story of your younger years, and the stupid things you did! lol! when I look back I shudder at some of the insane things that I never thought were dangerous, but looking back, whoo! haha! must admit that I hadn't heard of the group though, but being a metal head is probably the reason why! really interesting, by the way, who is your dad? you said he was always on stage, or have you put it in your profile? duh! sorry if you have! haha!


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks flash. Exactly. we all did silly things as children :-)


flashmakeit profile image

flashmakeit 4 years ago from usa

i just love your story snow down pants because it made me think about all the odd things I did when I was young.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks Phoebe... I think I have a pretty good and diverse soundtrack to my life :-)


Phoebe Pike 4 years ago

This hub was awesome. It's always great to remember things, but when you can attach it to a band, it's even better.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Martie... I actually played that game as recently as two years ago... but, I'm done now. Kids have always done stupid things!


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

thanks very much, Nils. I'm pleased you enjoyed my journey!


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 4 years ago from South Africa

I cringe when I remember the risks I have taken in ignorance when I was a child. Your game was indeed extremely dangerous. But what the heck, it was fun and here you are today still up and about.

Voted up and smile-provoking :)


Nils Visser profile image

Nils Visser 4 years ago from The Low Countries

A great memory lane to stroll down, I dig this and vote it all over the place, specifically upwards.

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