Rhea Mahbubani

San Jose Woman Preserves Snowball in Freezer for 40 Years and Counting

Despite one offer of some "cold" cash, the snowball has remained with the family since 1976

What is unofficially the world's oldest snowball is finally over the hill.

"If I were 40, I'd be happy," says Betty Shamus, who looks nowhere near her true age of 82.

For the last four decades, she has preserved in her freezer a snowball her then 14-year-old son Jeffrey created on Feb. 5th, 1976 – the last time the floor of the Santa Clara Valley, in California, saw any significant snowfall.  

The Shamus family built a snowman on the front lawn of their Almaden home before the snow quickly melted. And then, at her son's suggestion, they compacted what little remained into a round clump and saved it.

What was once a ball shape of snow has morphed into a crystalline blob of ice that takes up most of the space of an old Skippy Crunchy Peanut Butter twist-off glass jar.

Shamus believes that if she moved from the home, she would've eventually disposed of this oddity that has garnered the attention of the National Enquirer and Ripley's Believe It or Not.

The family, however, stayed in that house – and so did their 40-year-old reminder of that 1976 weather anomaly.

Shamus did receive a phone call a few years ago from someone interested in her snowball.

"I said, 'What?'" she recalled. "And he said, 'Yes, I want to buy your snowball.'"

Shamus hung up before the caller could make an offer, which drew a rebuke from her husband Larry over what could've have been a nice offer of some "cold" cash.

The family plans to celebrate the snowball's milestone with a small neighborhood celebration this weekend.

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