What are friends for if not to inspire the most random of blogs? Or maybe we just need a to cut back on the tequila in our Mistletoe Margaritas. Whatever the case, there I was on a chilly December evening, sitting in front of my laptop, and pondering what to write for this week’s blog when my cell dinged with a text. My first thought is to wonder who has lost what, as I had recently returned home from being with my gaggle of reprobate comrades. Clearly, none of them could want anything important since they’d just seen me not ten minutes earlier. I glance at the screen, and the message reads, “It’s snowing.” And my response is, “Snowing where?”
Earlier in the day, it had been what some would call warm (mid-sixties) for December. Here in the south, we call it borderline cold. The last two days had been dreary and overcast. Finally (while I was with my friends having drinks), a misting rain had moved in, enough to make the streets hazardous but not enough to warrant the trouble of opening an umbrella. By the time we prepared to return home, the temperature had dropped significantly. Those mid-sixties were now in the upper forties. Oh, I know what some of you “Yankees” are thinking, but again, this is the deep south. Forty-degree weather doesn’t cut it here. That’s stay-inside weather. So, when we hear “snow,” that’s a game-changer. A few flurries are enough to make businesses consider closing for the day. And oh, do not mention the word “ice.” If there’s ice, forget civilization exists. You will not find milk and bread in a supermarket for weeks.
Just as an aside, I understand the run on bread, as it can be used for when the power goes out. But milk? I suppose it’s cold enough that it won’t spoil without modern refrigeration—just allow mother nature to handle it. However, if people are warming their homes with generators or fireplaces or if the power doesn’t go out, I don’t know how the milk thing works. But look, I’m not meant to understand. All I know is that it is proper southern etiquette that if there’s an ice storm, you are required by law to purchase twelve loaves of bread and five gallons of milk. Maybe there’s some biblical significance. By the way, it’s quite the opposite during hurricanes. For that, the menu is peanut butter, potato chips, and beer. Go figure. Okay, so I’m being a tad bit cheeky, but all my southern cohorts know where I’m going with this. Storms get predicted and people freak the hell out—and not without merit. Respect Mother Nature. But I digress.
After hearing the news, I rush to my window and peer outside (like an idiot). It’s dark and I can’t see anything but black. And of course, I’m not walking outside in the cold. By then, I’d already kicked off my shoes and had on my fuzzy couch socks. Therefore, I do the next best thing and go to the internet to look up the news since I didn’t see a scroll across the bottom of my television screen. Sure enough, there is light snow… about two hundred miles away from where I live! The accumulation was a whopping 0.22 inches. Don’t judge.
So, here’s the skinny. All those songs about white Christmases and lovey-dovey Hallmark holiday movies that show towns rejoicing in being snowed in—not happening here. Nope. It’s pure panic and chaos. Now, this might seem silly, but actually, there is a good reason for it. Most southerners are not equipped to handle snow. A snowstorm at Christmas, while it may aesthetically be pretty, probably would cause many families to have a horrible Christmas. Note, I said many and not all. And here’s why.
First, in some large northern cities, the powerlines are below the ground in tunneling systems. In the south, they mostly remain in the air. When inclement weather strikes, not only is the power interrupted to homes, those live lines fall into the streets, making travel dangerous.
Second, many places are rural. Access to them is a bit hectic on any given day. Add snow, ice, and down trees and there’s a couple of situations happening. Restoring power can take days, weeks, or even months. Although Katrina was a hurricane, it took two months before power was restored to my home, and even longer for landline telephone service—which is one of the reasons I discontinued my landline. Dealing with the aftermath of a hurricane, while not by any means easy, but more straightforward. What I mean is that people in the area are more used to and prepared for dealing with hurricanes and tornados. Snow and ice leave us baffled.
The third is driving. This is why many businesses and schools close. Many southerners do not know how to drive in snow and ice. And in all fairness, why should we? When snow happens so rarely, how are we supposed to gain experience to learn? It’s like being told to look out for wrackspurts without spectrespecs. (If you’re unfamiliar with this reference, refer to J.K. Rowling’s’ Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.) In my entire life, I’ve only driven in snow three times. Even then, it was less than two inches, and that was a struggle. I slipped and slid all over the danggone place. I prayed every second in the car and asked each Catholic saint I could think of to say a prayer of intercession on my behalf. It was scary. I’m fortunate that I made it home safe in all three of those occasions. However, I can not estimate the numerous cars I passed that had skidded off the road and crashed into the trees. It simply isn’t safe.
Fourth, and here’s the biggie, clothing. I learned a long time ago that what we consider winter clothing is not the same as other parts of the country. Many, many years ago, I was gifted a beautiful tan trench coat by my parents. In fact, I still have it hanging in the rear of my closet and it looks new. It has a button-in plaid lining. The issue with the coat is that it never really got cold enough to wear more than a few days out of a year if that. However, when I went to really cold areas, it was not thick enough. The button-in lining didn’t repel moisture. Thus, rain, sleet, and snow seeped through. It just took it a little longer. On the other hand, my boots kept my feet dry, but the insulation wasn’t sufficient to keep them warm. The same held true for my gloves and mittens. But buying items more “substantial” would be a waste as they would be too hot. So, it’s a catch twenty-two. If a clothing company wants to make a killing, design southern winter wear.
Also, let’snot forget babysitting issues. When there’s s blizzard, schools close. Daycares close. Young children can’t be left alone, especially not in homes with no water, power, or heat. Yet, some businesses remsin open, and make it clear they will terminate employees if the employees fail to come to work due to weather. These employees may not have other sources of childcare. It’s like having a flat tire but the spare is also flat. These parents may could find alternative childcare if not all daycares in the town closed. And even if a daycare remained opened, the parents may not be able to travel there on the roads.
While having a white Christmas sounds ideal and amazingly beautiful, it’s not something that has me bursting at the seams to experience. Although, I should say that I did kind of experience one once. Several days before Christmas, an ice storm struck where my parents lived. The majority of main roads had been cleared by the time I drove in, but there was much ice left. Power was out, and the town was strangely quiet. Streets were empty, and there was no twinkling of Christmas lights. My family’s home was cold and dark. It didn’t matter because no one was at the house. That was the year my father was in the hospital, and my family had gathered there. Because the hospital had power, my mother stayed there. My brothers all had their own homes. So, after visiting my father for a few hours, I made the long drive back home where there was power and no ice. I remember as I drove thinking I had been robbed of having a family Christmas. As it turned out, it was the last Christmas my father was on earth. Maybe my heart knew that would be the case. However, when I think back, I remember the splendor of the ices sparkling in the sun. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky that Christmas. So, I definitely appreciate the beauty. Yet, it is an experience I don’t care to experience. No white Christmas for me. I’m quite happy being Ms. Heat Miser, Ms. Green Christmas.
So, that is all that I got. Tell me your opinions. Do you prefer a white Christmas or a green Christmas? Let me know in the comments.
Taz has problems: a stalled career, a coach threatening to destroy him, a meddling matchmaking roommate, and a thing for his other roommate’s boyfriend. The first three are manageable, but the last… well, that’s complicated. Because as much as Taz is attempting not to notice Liam, Liam is noticing him.
Coming February 2020… Be prepared. It will melt the ice. Ice Gladiators
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