Snow is coming! In some parts of the country this is no big deal. It’s a regular almost daily occurrence in the winter. But we live in the deep South. Snow is a rarity and we treat it with the hysteria of a comet about to crash into the Earth.

We rush to the supermarket only to find the shelves looking as if looters have preceded us. The few loaves of bread remaining are mangled as if someone with too strong a grip has tested their freshness and found it wanting. The refrigerated section is totally empty where the milk should be. The chip aisle is decimated. How will we put on the necessary five pounds to survive the cold? Have no fear, the beer and wine sections have been fully stocked. As we discovered during the pandemic, these are necessities.

After standing in the checkout line for an eternity, we hurry home to watch the local news. The dedicated weather team will stay on the air for the next twenty-four or forty-eight hours or heaven forbid even longer to cover this life altering event. School and business closures scroll across the bottom of the screen. “Don’t drive!” They warn us. “Stay inside.” They point to their maps and radar. “It’s coming!” There’s more anticipation for the storm than Santa.

Then it starts. Those first few flakes fall on our grass that still hasn’t quite lost its green. Those of us with fireplaces, stack our wood inside and check to see if we have the makings for smores—we are not going back to the grocery store. Those of us without a fireplace, pray our electricity won’t go out. There’s mutual hope that our water pipes won’t freeze since we were too lazy to wrap them, after all it’s only for one day.

First comes the sleet, turning into fat fluffy flakes. A beautiful pristine layer of white that coats our houses and lawns. Looking innocent it belies the treacherous black ice beneath it. Our roads become skating rinks and we have not had lessons. The news is filled with videos of cars and trucks slipping and sliding almost comically until they crash into something or each other with a gut wrenching thud.

We hunker down and recall past snows getting the years wrong. Who can remember when it was three or ten or fifteen years ago? But we all recall where we were when the big one hit and stranded us at work and school and on interstates. Vowing we won’t be that naïve again, we sip our hot cocoa and watch the meteorologist repeat the same forecast five more times.

The kids are getting antsy. They want to go out and play. Moms search for winter clothing in the back of the closet. We were wearing shorts on New Year’s Day. Who would have thought we would need those thermal long johns we gave to charity last summer?  Where are the gloves we got for Christmas three years ago? It takes longer to get dressed than we will spend outside.

Our snow is wet and slushy. Within minutes our clothes are saturated. Southern snowmen and women are small, dirty, and malnourished—more mud than snow. We scrape the roofs and hoods of our vehicles into golf ball sized handfuls that melt before we can hurl them at each other. After ten minutes that seems like all day, we bustle inside for more warm drinks and dry clothes, throwing our outerwear into the dryer to prepare for the next round.

It’s here and then it’s gone like birthdays, Christmas, and the Fourth of July. We awaken to rising temperatures, wet pavement, and the reopening of schools and businesses. The only outside evidence that it wasn’t a dream is—well there isn’t any. Only our memories and of course our videos and photographs to sustain us until the next snowmageddon comes to town.


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