It wasn't until I'd careened out of the driveway that I noticed a most perplexing sight. Stacked on top of both windshield wipers were precariously balanced piles of tiny, perfectly uniform white balls. I squinted at them as I rounded the corner. A few pieces lost their balance, carried away on the wind. Weren't those... Styrofoam balls? The kind you see in packing material? But how? Why? Who?
It had to be one of Ethan's friends playing a trick, I concluded. What a bizarre prank!
"Look at those little Styrofoam balls!" I exclaimed. "I wonder who put them there."
"What balls?" Allyson asked, from the backseat. "Oh, I see them. Weird!"
As we waited at the stoplight next to the school--seven minutes till the bell and counting--I glanced at the cars ahead, trying to guage whether we'd make the next light or whether Allyson would be tardy. I leaned forward when I saw something familiar on the truck in front of me: a faint trail of white lining the cracks in the rear bumper.
For a fraction of a section I marveled at the coincidence. Two neighborhood vehicles targeted in a Styrofoam prank! No, wait a minute. Weren't there balls on the windshield of that white SUV next to me, too?
The light finally dawned in my sleepy, addled mind. "Sleet!" I said as the light turned green and I fought the instinct to gun it through the school zone. I shook my head in disbelief, pressing my lips together in a sheepish smile. Sometimes I wonder about myself!
"What's sleet?" Allyson asked. "Oh, is it like hail?"
"Yes, only smaller. But I've never seen such perfect balls of sleet before. They're usually slushy and stuck together."
But I found these perfect specimens on top of the trash bin back at home:
The little balls were everywhere, actually: on the roof, the grass, the bushes. I was surprised I had missed them on the way out.
Chances are you're wondering why I would get so excited about a bit of sleet. Well, we don't get much frozen precipitation around here. So you can imagine how excited we were the next day when we woke up to this: