LISLE, IL — After every snowfall, Lisle resident Jon Catlin does his neighbors a favor and plows the driveways throughout the whole block. This time, though, Jon had an extra something special up his sleeve: he made a snow sculpture of Bernie Sanders in his front yard.
Since the weekend’s snowfall, visitors have been walking down a short, snow-fringed path in Lisle to sit down with Bernie. The ice sculpture depicts the Vermont U.S. senator in the pose that launched a thousand memes from the Jan. 20 inauguration of President Joe Biden. Sanders is perched in front of the Catlins’ home in the 2800 block of Garden Drive, hands sporting his signature brown mittens, face shielded by a standard blue mask. Next to him is a folding chair.
The inspiration for the Bernie sculpture was an easy one for Catlin, who often creates snow sculptures to entertain his neighbors. “He’s an icon in our house,” Catlin told Patch. Another recent snow sculpture paid tribute to the Catlins’ bulldog.
Jon Catlin with his bulldog snow sculpture.
Catlin said the Bernie sculpture has drawn about a hundred people who have come to admire a frozen Bernie Sanders and snap photographs to share on social media.
When Jon’s wife, Jaimie Catlin, looked out her window Monday morning, she saw an elderly woman sitting next to the Sanders snow sculpture, her elderly husband snapping a photo with his Nikon camera.
“They were smiling and giggling in the morning. It made me so happy,” Jaimie told Patch, adding that she’s proud of Jon, who spent two hours making the sculpture after he had plowed the whole neighborhood.
“Some people thought the snow was a hindrance. This was a great way to bring a little joy in the world,” Jaimie said.
Jon told Patch Bernie was initially supposed to be sitting in the chair, but the ice sculpture kept sliding off. Thus, the chair remains open for anyone who wants a chance to get their pic with Bernie.
For Jon, all the effort has been worth it. He said the Bernie sculpture has brought visits from teenagers and elderly people alike.
“It just seems like everybody loves it,” Jon said, adding, “I’m glad I did it.”
John Plackett, who is a neighbor to the Catlins, told Patch Jon’s generous spirit goes well beyond shoveling driveways and sculpting snow. Plackett said Catlin volunteers to mow lawns throughout the neighborhood in summer, even tending to vacant lots.
“He’s got this special talent to create these sculptures,” Plackett said, adding, “He’s a terrific neighbor. I’m glad he lives in the neighborhood.”