I woke up to snow this morning in Memphis. They predicted it was coming, but 7 times out of ten, it doesn’t happen. For it to snow in the Southern United States, all the conditions have to be right. It just doesn’t happen very often. When it does happen, it’s an event. For it to happen on Christmas night, it is unbelievable. School was out anyway for the holiday, so there weren’t massive school closings with parents running around trying to figure out what to do with their kids while they go to work. That’s usually the biggest issue especially when the weather is not as bad as predicted. Parents don’t want to burn a vacation day for a non-event. There were only about 12 cars in my office parking lot this morning. Most of that was due to the holiday I’m sure, but we Southerners don’t rush to work on a snowy day. It’s just not cool.
If we’re lucky, we’ll get 1-2 snowfalls per year. The good thing about Southern snowfalls is they doesn’t stick around very long. The worst thing about Southern snowfalls is they don’t stick around very long. We really enjoy the snow. It’s beautiful on tropical southern plants because it looks so out of place. A Magnolia tree with it’s big beautiful evergreen leaves just looks fabulous with snow sticking to it.
When I lived up North, I didn’t enjoy the snow as much. For one thing, extreme cold accompanied it. For another thing, it just kept piling up…..for months….and you had to deal with it in order to function. Down here, we just wait until it melts. It’s the simpler thing to do. The biggest snowstorm that I ever experienced in the South was a blizzard when I lived in Knoxville. I think we got 18 inches of snow, and it stuck around for several days. My neighbors were from Michigan. That first morning I woke up eagerly anticipating a multi-day vacation to play in the snow. I looked next door. They had shoveled the driveway and gone to work. Why did they do that? They weren’t getting the significance of this event…..obviously. For the rest of us Southerners, we sat at home listening to the radio.
This is the way it works in the South when it snows really bad. Our men tell their wives and kids they can’t drive in the snow. It’s just too dangerous. Then, they can’t wait to get their buddies and get in their four wheel drive trucks and go out and help hapless women and children who don’t have husbands and Dads that tell them not to go out in the snow. The radio stations start to take calls from people who need someone in a four wheel drive vehicle to take them somewhere. Meanwhile, the kids get out their cardboard boxes and sleds and go in search of the biggest hill they can find. When Dad or Honey gets home, they tell the stories of the people they saved and helped during the day. A good time is had by all.
The snow wasn’t sticking to the road this morning, so I knew I had to go to work. Besides, I don’t have a husband or Dad around to tell me I can’t drive anywhere. So, I got ready in snow speed, which is REALLY slow. In other words, I was at least an hour later than normal. I cleaned the snow off my car and headed for Starbucks. Oh, come on….there is no way I could fight a snowstorm of this magnitude without a Grande Mocha without whip. Geez…even a Yankee would know that.
They had the signs out “Watch for Ice on Bridges”. My Yankee ex-husband used to laugh at those signs in Louisiana until he saw an overpass iced over one day. He would laugh about us worrying about ice on bridges down there when it was so hot. How much ice could we get anyway? Well, one Christmas, it was really cold – about 25 degrees. We drove up to this overpass. There was no ice to be seen on the roads but the overpass was a solid sheet of ice due to the humidity in the air and the cold passing under the bridge. It can also cause the infamous and scary “black ice.” They have black ice up north, but hell, they’ve got all kinds of ice. It’s all bad, so they don’t emphasize one more than the other. Besides, they have sand and salt to clear it up before you ever get out of bed. Down here, we don’t have all that stuff. You just drive on it if you dare.
Around 4 PM, I’ll hear people saying, “I’m getting out of here before this stuff re-freezes” or “My husband won’t let me drive after dark when the weather is like this.” At any rate, they will all be trying to get home before dark. As all Southerners know, a Southern snowfall will turn into black ice after dark even if it’s 45 degrees out. We don’t take any chances. That is some scary stuff. Oh yeah, and we better get some milk and bread at the store if there’s any left after the pre-storm panic. We never eat it, but it sure does feel better to have it sitting in the kitchen in case we’re snowed in for the rest of the winter.