It's always great fun until someone loses an eye. Who hasn't heard that old adage before?

Well, even a hurt eye can put a serious damper on the fun, as I found out last night. We had a heavy shower of snow yesterday evening and every kid in the neighborhood was again out throwing snowballs. I (and I refuse to say stupidly) decided to go out and join in.

My neighbor was out there with his kids and he was under assault from all sides. I joined him and shortly afterwards another neighbor joined our side. There were three of us; there were at least 10 of them.

We were doing fine. We had a neat operation watching out for each with occasional forays into enemy territory to administer 'justice'. All was going well.

Then - somehow without me noticing - my two teammates vanished to investigate a house alarm. I was on my own. Soon a swarm of junior Visigoths were overrunning our citadel.

I was making and throwing snowballs as fast as I could, driving back the horde. I was having some success, but then it happened. The smallest kid out there had snuck up on me. He got within 18 inches of me and then opened up...

My eye was hurting. I instantly threw up the white flag and headed for a shelter to see if it would clear. I stayed out another 10 minutes before I realized my eye was stinging too much for me to take any further part in the war.

I couldn't open my eye for most of the night. Today it's still fairly red and sore. I can't see too well - reading on the computer is a strain.

So, lesson learned? Maybe, but I hope not. I'd hate to think my last ever snowball fight ended in pain rather than the silly chatter about successful strikes. Throwing snowballs is great fun - until someone loses (the use of) an eye.