Snow –

by

To a dyed-in-the-wool Southerner, snow is just another four-letter word.To some people, it is wondrous stuff. This would be mostly in climates where snow falls and it stays cold enough to keep the stuff as snow. These people who like this stuff usually do or depend upon winter sports types for economic gain.

Down here in the South, snow is a whole different critter. First off, we don’t have it enough to have a whole lot of heavy-duty road clearing equipment on hand. Secondly, we don’t usually get snow. We get a mixture of snow, sleet, rain – just makes a slushy goo that is neither pretty nor useful. We don’t have pretty fluffy stuff, we have a mixture that is pure treachery and usually just looks dirty.

About the most dangerous thing around here is a Yankee with a 4-wheel drive in an Atlanta ice storm. You can drive up I-400 and see them ploughed into the median about every half mile or so. See, Yanks are used to driving in snow. Even when we get snow, the temperature/humidity is usually just right to for ice on the roads. Now while you might be good at driving on snow, nobody is good at driving on ice. And the real capper is that we get black ice – a lot. Black ice is just about impossible to see. You just drive along happily on a fairly normal road until you hit black ice. Then you are toast with zero traction. Not a good thing at all. Chains would help on ice, of course, but we have such patchy roads with large clear spots between ice patches that chains just tear up your tires on our roads.

Of course, for a kid, even Southern snow is a goodness. We shut down the schools when snow hits. There is good reason for this. As I said, we cannot drive safely. Southern kids do all the normal snow stuff, or at least we did when I was a kid. Snowball fights. Snow angels. Snowmen. And the ubiquitous snow ice cream – with the attendant joke – don’t eat the yellow snow.

Snow ice cream is easy to make. My mother came from Kentucky and knew about such things. Get a bowl full of very clean, fluffy snow. Sprinkle sugar over it. Add vanilla extract. Mix in a bit of milk or cream and stir it all up. Eat it with a spoon. There’s nothing else in the world quite like it.

{{Herself Sez}}: My grandmother was from KY also, and my mother was born there, although she was raised in MS. We used to subscribe to Mathis Dairy (as did the Ol’ Curmudgeon’s folks) for our milk. Now, milk was not homogenized back then, so the cream rose to the top – hence the moniker: “cream-line” milk. My little grandmother would spoon some of that heavy top cream into the bowl with the snow along with some sugar.

Now-a-days, snow ice-cream just doesn’t taste “right.” Not just because my taste buds have grown older, but because the cream isn’t “right.” The heavy whipping cream has been “ultra-pasturized” so it will last nearly forever, but it is tasteless. Last time I was able to obtain raw milk, I realized that good taste was the same taste I remembered from childhood! So our attempts to be “safe” from food-borne illnesses has led to decreased flavor in the basic foods we eat. So we flavor them more with salt. More than we need, most of the time. Now, back to Himself:

As an adult I have lost the enjoyment of snow. It is mostly a pain in the butt that makes the roads treacherous and makes it impossible to get work done. But occasionally I can remember the delights of snow in the eyes of a child.

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One Response to “Snow –”

  1. The Blanco Republic Says:

    I remember the snow of May 6, 2000. I had just been down in Austin for a short stint on a programming contract when I came back to Iowa. I had to clear out my apartment, pack stuff up, and move back down to the Hill Country in Texas. What a move!

    The day I was scheduled to leave southeast Iowa, I was supposed to drive to Tulsa or Oklahoma City and stay overnight, then resume my trip upon rising up the next morning.

    I remember it all too well. May 6, 2000. Saturday morning. I woke up, took a shower, shaved, did all the other “morning stuff”…

    …got dressed, walked down the flight of stairs to go “walk the dog”…

    …and it “hit” me. I wasn’t going out the door of the apartment building that morning without a shovel!

    Overnight, I – and my neighbors – had become entombed in a mountain of snow. A blizzard had blown in the night before and a 20-25 foot drift had piled itself up on the front and side of the building. The apartment building was a two story with about a 20′ dew line and a 25′ peak on the roof. Couldn’t see the top. All snow.

    Of course, I found out all these details after I had spent a couple hours digging my way out.

    Now… I want you to picture this:

    You’re standing there in the vestibule of your building, staring at a wall of snow… contemplating “where to start.” I found myself in a situation in which a person is faced with contradictory demands or expectations, so that any action taken will appear to be wrong… otherwise known as a dilemma-or a quandry.

    I contemplated calling the landlord, but all the phone lines were down. Cellular service would have also been moot.

    I lived upstairs and it was too far to jump, and although there was plenty snow, I don’t think it would have served much to cushion my 258 pounds at the gravitational ratio of however fast I would have fallen from the second floor window. Einstein came to mind: E-MC2.

    Then, there was Dawg. He was getting impatient. If he could have talked to me, those eyes would have said something like, “Hurry up! You’re not going fast enough. And no, I’m not jumping with you!” I could just imagine him speaking to me in Jackie Gleason’s voice… or Dr. Phil, “How’s THAT working for ya!?”

    Needless to say, I started at the Great White Wall and began shoveling. (You can only guess where the first piles started falling…)

    Neither my landlord, nor my neighbors, were happy about the collateral damage, but they were glad to be “sprung” from their prison of snow.

    Now, this leaves us with a note: prepare for next year… or the next blizzard…

    A few days later, my landlord and I went down to the local Wally World to buy several 55 gallon trash containers as a backup, should they ever have to dig theirselves out again. (I wasn’t going to be there. Remember? I was leaving, ya know!

    I was supposed to start on a new contract that following Monday, but that got nixxed when I finally called them on the following Sunday to tell them I had become a victim of Mother Nature’s Fury, and that I probably wouldn’t be down in San Antonio until the following week.

    “No problem!” they said. I was relieved.

    I was even MORE relieved when, finally, on the following day the snow thawed out enough I could start loading the truck. I still had another day or two of packing and loading…

    Finally, on the following Tuesday I managed to get on the road. Stopped over in Tulsa for an over-nighter and made it down to Austin the next day. The rest is history.

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