Wistful Winter Memories
Many of my winters when my children were growing up were spent up north. Snow and cold weather was inevitable. It came to be acceptable to me and the adventure of it, as much as I feared it and of being snowed in.
I looked forward to it as much as I dreaded it! I couldn't help it.
Bitter Cold Snow and Ice
"I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently?
―Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass
The Weather Channel
I use to watch the weather channel all the time when my children were small and I lived in a cold climate. It stayed on almost continually as winter neared. When I visited my close friend, who was also my sister-in-law, we watched it together. Her husband, my youngest brother, along with my husband; always laughed and made fun if they came in and we were watching the weather channel. Again! We didn’t care, especially around this time of year. It was a must and the music was always great on there, with Christmas music by this time of year, anyway.
We would watch where the storm was coming from and which way it was heading and how fast it would be moving. All so exciting. Of course, it almost always came from Canada. I think sometimes I guessed it better than the weather channel. I was becoming a pro at this!
Soft snow we did not have to worry so much about but the ones with ice and sleet, neither of us wanted out in that. Both our husbands were great drivers in the snow but that didn't make any difference, we still didn't want out in it unless it was an emergency, which it seldom was.
Sometimes (well, many times) this brother would be off hunting with my other brothers and I would stay with my sister-in-law through a winter storm. That was really fun. We would sit right in a window with some good old rock music, (if not the weather channel) talking our heads off about everything on our minds and watch the snow get higher and higher! No kids, no husbands, we were sixteen again!
Snow meant the holidays, warm houses and good food. (That girl made some mean homemade pizza, too!)
It was really a thrilling expectation starting before Halloween sometimes. A winter storm could pop up at any time now. That meant a run to the store and stock up on groceries, even if you had enough to do you through the winter, you had to imagine you may be snowed in days and days and you wanted plenty to eat that was 'snowed in special'.
Being snowed in really was quite fun, for a couple of days, anyway. There would always have been a run on everything when you got to the stores. Was it only me who got the last loaf or two of bread?
The lines were long and cashiers and customers kept an eye to the outside snow. Poor cashiers, I always thought. They didn’t get to rush home.
I knew one cashier whose husband was coming to pick her up and right in front of the store where she worked he was in a collision caused by the storm and killed.
So these storms could be very serious and life threatening events. We did all know to take them serious.
'The only way to live is to accept each minute as an unrepeatable miracle, which is exactly what it is: a miracle and unrepeatable.
~ Storm Jameson
Dead Man's Curve.
"There's just something beautiful about walking in snow that nobody else has walked on. It makes you believe you're special."
~ Carol Rifka Brunt
Winter Storm Warnings
How many times, I cannot guess, the snow would start as I was checking out. As fast as you want to go everything seems to just be in slow motion. The lines are so long you just can imagine what will happen if you don't get home right now! You are tempted to just walk out but no, you can't do that; be stuck at home without all the goodies? No! The car is completely covered as you throw the groceries in and would just make it home before the roads got treacherous.
The snow seemed to take on a personality competing with you, faster than the wipers, blurring your vision. That last mile could be real iffy, so exciting too. Like bungee jumping I would imagine, if one were that stupid.
Snow here in the Appalachians was like hurricanes and earthquakes in other places. There was a price to pay for some very unlucky ones. Mountains and curves could be bad enough just in rain or an oil slick but once it was slick with snow I just wanted to be indoors!
Once I got caught on those bad roads before I got home from shopping and I am so thankful I paid attention to the men talking that was so good on these roads. I had made it almost halfway home and the roads were getting bad fast. Cars were all over the place but I knew we had a good snow car and tires so it was all up to me. There was no cell phone or help to get. It was getting home or get stuck in a snow storm! I could not panic and hit the breaks. I had to get a good speed to make it up that last mountain and hold it.
My heart was in my throat and it amazed me that I did not go sliding off the highway or into a car already stuck. They were there scattered but thankfully not in the road! I kept my cool and made it home. I knew how lucky I was and never let that happen to me again!
Have you ever been snowed in?
“Life's challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they're supposed to help you discover who you are.”
— Bernice Johnson Reagon (American Historian and Musician 1942)
Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!
The Weather Outside is Frightful
My son and daughter might be at their grandma's or cousin’s or friend’s houses a couple of streets over and that was alright. If they were close I never worried. They would be home for supper. The soup was simmering and bread was baking, they would smell it. I had no trouble getting them home for meals.
I would gather up candles, flashlights, warm quilts and dig out the guy’s Long Johns and our warm pajamas, thick socks and fuzzy housecoats for us girls. All the time I have the weather channel on and stop and listen and see where the storm is worse now. How close is it? How bad will it get?
Looking out the window I could almost tell if it was going to be really deep by the speed and density. It was beautiful and so scary all at the same time. When I would look out and see all the limbs laden down in the nearby woods I knew it was going to be a doozy. I would hurry and pop a cake or pie in the oven for later. Might lose the power and it would be too late if I waited!
I had a red cone wood burner fireplace in the living room. We could watch the flickering flames and the snowfall all at the same time. I bought the jiffy popcorn to pop over the flames sometimes. Why was pretending to rough it so much fun? The threat of danger so exciting? I would stand and watch out the window at the snow falling heavier and heavier. School would be canceled the next day or two. We would all start thinking about Christmas. Life was really wonderful and these memories would always be so good no matter what else in life there was to face.
The kids would hit the door any minute, probably with a cousin behind, in a big burst of cold air, snow, and laughter. Would that picture, that sound, and those memories remain frozen in time forever? Or would they one day die with me?
I sure hoped not.
© 2017 Jackie Lynnley