I was trying to explain Alabama to someone recently, and I told her, “In lots of places, it’s harder to find a snowflake than it is a Democrat.”
With few exceptions I leave politics out of this blog, so suffice it to say that while I shiver when it’s below 70 degrees inside or out, I love some snow and spend much of January through March praying for just a bit. A little or none is what we usually get down here.
I come by my love of snow honestly. I have a faint recollection of it snowing when I was about five, and my mom dragging me outside to teach me a few things. First she patted out a snowman. We had barely an inch of snow on the ground. My mom shaped the snow into two tiny balls and placed one on top of the other, but there were so many pine needles sticking every which way out of the snow that it looked more like a porcupine. My mom was really proud of it and got out the Polaroid and I would kill to have a picture of that porcupine snowman today.
(I don’t tell this part of the story out loud very often because I say “porky-pine” and Bill feels compelled to interrupt and say it’s “por-cue-pine,” and a beautiful childhood memory inevitably ends in marital discord.)
My mom wasn’t through. Next she showed me how to make two flavors of snow ice cream: the lemon kind where you got a bowl of snow and squeezed a lemon and sprinkled some sugar on top, and the syrup kind, where you mixed snow and syrup. They were both delicious and I thought we should serve them at my birthday party.
Surely there was another snow or two in my childhood, but the next one I can document for sure occurred in 1990 or so in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Bill and I were in law school. I’d arrived at law school with long hair, but when Bill and I broke up one time I drove to Birmingham and got it cut short. Compared to today’s styles it doesn’t look very short (in fact it looks quite bouffant) but it was oh so daring at the time. More importantly, either the haircut or my sparkling personality lured Bill back.
I got the gold hoop earrings in Turkey and a friend of a friend stole them. I sure would like them back– they’re real gold and I bargained for them myself at the Grand Bazaar.
This picture serves two purposes. It proves the presence of snow in Tuscaloosa, and it establishes that the 80’s actually extended well into the 90’s, at least as far as fashion was concerned.
Few events have been as exciting as The Blizzard of ’93. It was a Friday in March, and there were rumors of a winter storm, but we were skeptical. I went to the store and purchased wine, fresh Parmesan and rosemary, and rum. Late that evening the sky turned green and it thundered and lightninged and started to snow. The power went out. The next morning, we woke to over a foot of snow.
It was days before anyone could get around, and the temperature hovered around 25 degrees. We tacked sheets over the window and doors and hunkered down in the den by the fireplace, our sole source of heat. Bill cut down a tree in the back yard and we hauled it into the basement so it could dry out a bit. Then he sawed it into logs which we brought upstairs so we could cook and stay warm.
We made grits for breakfast, cheese grits for lunch, and grits topped with garlic, Parmesan and rosemary for dinner.
After a day and a half we’d burned the tree and all the sticks we were able to find beneath the snow. The previous occupants had left some ugly furniture in the basement and Bill cut that into firewood. I have a sexy picture of him wearing only long underwear, sawing a chest into pieces, but I’m trying to respect his boundaries so I’m posting this picture instead.
We had to wait a long time before we saw any more snow, and then it was fleeting. In 2000 we got about half an inch. All three boys had come along. Ever optimistic, I’d bought sleds one August so I’d be super prepared.
I realize no one looks very happy in this picture (you do know you can click on most of these pictures to make them larger, don’t you?), but the reality was even worse. Both Porter (clutching Naked Baby) and Drew were gushing snot and were not interested at all in the snow. Finn rode the sled with Bill a few times, then came inside and fell to the floor crying from exhaustion. I put everyone in bed for a nap and watched the snow melt. I cried, too, because I hadn’t gotten the chance to make the boys any snow ice cream and I was afraid that what with global warming and all I had missed my chance.
Last year we got a decent half day of snow when we were down in Gold Hill, and I wrote about it here. We did it up- snowballs, ice cream, the whole shebang.
And then last weekend, we got my favorite kind of snow. No weather people hinted about it days in advance, only to dash our hopes with two flakes and a grocery store fresh out of milk.
This snow crept up on us all of a sudden, and we woke Sunday morning to covered ground and big fat snowflakes and a good five inches of outdoor fun.
It was exactly what I needed, and now I’m ready for spring.
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