It’s always good to be home, but I hadn’t been home for 24 hours before it happened. The weatherman said there was a possibility we were going to get up to two inches of snow. That’s all it took for widespread panic to break out. Nevermind that the weatherman is rarely correct and we usually pay no attention to what he predicts. If snow is even a remote possibility then you can bet everyone around here is going to take action immediately. While I knew this (I’ve been here for a few years, after all) we had such a mild winter last year that I had forgotten just how much everyone tends to lose their freaking minds at the thought of possible snowfall.
Mr.Kitt-en called me on his way home around 6:30pm. He said he was having a hard time getting home because all of the gas stations had lines that were so long they were spilling out into the road and in those places there was only one lane of traffic actually moving. At this point, nothing had even been cancelled – we just had the always (un)dependable weatherman telling us there might possibly be a little snow the next day. Unsurprisingly, by 8:00pm the local television stations were doing a constant scroll across the bottom of the screen of every school that would be closed the following day. They could have saved a lot of time and scrolling by simply posting “Every school within 200 miles of this area is going to be closed tomorrow.” It was 58 degrees and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky at this point, but on the off-chance that one might blow in during the night carrying with it a wintery blanket (okay, a mere dusting) of snow, we were not going to take any chances. Texts started circulating between friends, teachers, parents, and neighborhood HOA’s. There were frantic posts on FB warning everyone to prepare to be stuck inside for days. I’m pretty sure every faucet in every house and building in this area was dripping water. The fear of frozen pipes rivals that of tornado warnings. I heard from several friends that by 9:30 that night there wasn’t a single loaf of bread or gallon of milk on the shelves at any local grocery stores. Happy to know I shouldn’t waste my time, I just decided I’d wait until the next day and then go pick up a few things at the store if I found I needed them. We have 4 wheel drive, so I wasn’t concerned about getting around in 2 inches of snow. I’ll admit that I have some mild regret about that choice knowing what I know now, which is that it doesn’t matter if I’m comfortable driving in the snow because nothing, and I do mean NOTHING, is going to be open in the event that one flake has fallen from the sky. Stores, gas stations, medical and dental offices, fast food restaurants, and every other establishment you can find in this town were not open for business. When my husband got to work the next morning instead of arriving to 120-130 employees as he usually does, he found 12 people there. Twelve. Knowing nothing much could be accomplished with 12 people doing the work of 120, he decided to close it down and let all 12 of them go home. If you’re wondering how much snow we ended up getting, brace yourselves. Total snowfall was about 3/4 of an inch.
But here’s the great part about getting snow (even 3/4 of an inch) in the South. Not a bit of it is wasted. Every kid on the street was outside playing in the snow as if it were a winter wonderland. Nevermind not one of them owned proper snow gear. They put on 2-4 layers of clothes and socks, slid on their rainboots, and headed outside. There was running and jumping, snowball making, snowbaby making (you can’t make a snowman with 3/4 an inch of snow on the ground, so the kids all make what they call “snowbabies” – little miniature snowmen). There was sledding. The kids played outside for hours and then all came to my house for hot chocolate. They were giddy with excitement at all the fun they were having outside even after hours of playing. The next day was Saturday and despite the fact that the very small amount of packed down slush-snow had turned into slushy ice, the kids bundled up again and ran wild, completely unwilling to admit there wasn’t enough snow left to amount to much. They played outside again for hours. The day after that, there was barely anything visibly white remaining, so the kids all decided to sled down the remnants of the tall “mountain” they had been sledding down for the previous two days. It was pure mud at this point, but seeing the joy on their faces outweighed the impending inconveniences all of the exasperated parents would soon face. We all knew a huge load of very wet and muddy clothes would need to be laundered the minute the kids came inside and following that every floor in the house would need to be mopped. I didn’t see a text or hear one single complaint. It was kind of magical seeing all of the kids on the street playing outside.
I could get used to this, which is good. I just turned on the news in time to hear the weatherman say there’s an 80% chance we’ll get 2-3 inches of snow overnight. I guess I’ll settle in with some hot chocolate and wait for the school closings to start scrolling across the screen again.
Having snow much fun,
Currently playing in the soundtrack of my mind: Let It Snow! by Dean Martin, of course.