There’s nothing quite like impending snow in the South.
Weather updates interrupt regular scheduled television programs to bring the latest, breaking news from the worn-out, storm tracking team. With sleeves rolled to the elbows, tie askew, and disheveled hair, the Chief Meteorologist will gravely relay the forecast in a husky, sleep-deprived voice, reinforcing the seriousness in which viewers should receive the approaching snow.
Snow in Georgia is as rare as balmy days in Vermont. It just doesn't happen much and our regional response and state preparation makes the Boy Scouts of America look downright lazy. The ONE snowplow owned by our small town is brought out from its place of hibernation, an enigma that brings out the city officials who stand nearby, grave looks on their faces and with fingers crossed, praying the engine will turn over at least once.
The local media exploits our unfamiliarity with winter storms further by going so far as to name our grievous weather - "Snowstorm 2010" or, if competing networks are battling it out for publicity, "Black Ice: The Slick Killer in Your Neighborhood". It becomes questionable as to whether you will ever be able to leave your home again, convincing even reasonable folks that bread and milk must be purchased NOW or cereal and toast might not be enjoyed until early Spring.
Emergent trips to the grocery store cause traffic jams, resulting in exaggerated impatience and short tempers in the overflowing parking lot. My own trip ignited a small flare-up with another lady when I unknowingly pulled into a parking place she had been eyeing from two rows over. (Who knew?) The lady wheeled around the corner – on two wheels, I might add – just as I parked into the coveted place that apparently did not belong to yours truly.
Shooting me the evil eye punctuated with an unfortunate hand gesture, the woman found another space just a few moments later. As I walked to the entrance of the store, I noticed that as timing would have it, my new friend and I would reach the front doors at approximately the same moment.
Trying to lighten the moment, and believing that a little humor alleviates most awkward situations, I smiled at the woman and cheerfully said, “Wanna race to a shopping cart?”
She did not think I was funny. She did not want to race. And because I am of great courage, I hid from her in Kroger.
The impending snowstorm resulted in school closings in our area, bringing great joy to the students in our community. Meticulously sodded lawns were shredded to Bermuda slaw as ambitious children attempted to sled down hills peppered with maybe an inch of snow. Those who experienced the most downhill success were the lucky kids that owned tricked-out sleds with four wheel drive, helping them to better glide through the icy snow mixed in with the mud made of Georgia red clay.
You have to appreciate our enthusiasm, albeit somewhat dramatic and just a little misguided. Snow is a big deal in the South.
Our children were thrilled with the snowflakes that finally materialized in the empty sky that had teased them all week. As it began to accumulate, our offspring quickly gathered as much snow as their cold little hands could handle, hoping to form the snowman they wanted to build.
Unfortunately, there was not quite enough, but collection of some of Frosty's parts were stored lovingly in my freezer.
The brief storm was pretty while it lasted, creating a winter wonderland that is rare around these parts. It didn’t quite live up to the expectation or the hype, but the folks in my community were on alert, well informed and fully prepared.
We have the milk and bread in bulk to prove it.