Thursday, January 30, 2014

Southerners & Snow, What's The Big Deal?

Snow & South.  Two words that aren't usually used in the same sentence.  But I'm going to explain the recent hullabaloo down here.

If you need more than that:

I was born and raised outside New Orleans.  When I was nineteen, I moved to South Dakota.  I admit it was the first time I'd ever been above the Mason-Dixon, y'all.  What a shock to my Southern sensibilities!!

Driving across the state, I thought my brand spankin' new sports car was out of alignment because I was driving with the wheel cocked fifteen degrees.  I stopped at a rest area and when I opened the door and stood up, the wind took my waist length naturally curly auburn locks like a kite and nearly whipped me back to Nebraska!  A hurricane in the North?  No, just everyday wind in the Plains I was told.

(NOT fancy oil rigs...)

Then Winter hit.  First it came gently and I called everyone I knew back home to describe the baseball sized flakes falling gently to the ground.  I put on a coat and ran outside to make snow angels and play like a child, full of wonder, while the people in my dorm looked on like I was a crazy person.

That was the teaser, a few hours later the snow came in horizontally.  It stung when it hit like tiny shards of glass in a tornado.  Remember that wind?  This was October.

In December the snow was knee deep  Temps were nearing -90 with the wind chill.  I had to go buy clothing I didn't know existed, a parka with a fur-lined hood, fur-lined mittens that came to your elbows, and boots that were lined in what felt like lead when you walked in them, those boots came up to the bottom of this parka (which sort of resembled a sleeping bag folded in half and zipped up).  The hood was not only worn, but apparently you needed to draw the string attached so that only one eye at a time peeked out into a blinding white sheet and you had to wear your keys around your neck because if you did happen to actually find your precious little sports car, forget finding your keys easily in a fashionable clutch.  You couldn't actually grip anything with these mittens that were also like sleeping bags wrapped around your arms.   And it was still cold.  Plus, who doesn't love a rousing game of Where-The-Heck-Is-My-Car?

I had to actually keep a snow shovel in my trunk!!  So I could dig my way out of parking lots!!

Florida was a welcome reprieve after several years of that!  Skip ahead a few more years and I was living in Northern Utah.  My son being raised there.  Snow was different there.  In a "good" winter, it would be thigh deep, we dug tunnels to the neighbor's house in case of emergencies, but it was a dry cold....

Roads were icy, but salted and plowed, sometimes the wind blew, but mostly the snow just fell.  I loved it there and the four seasons were fantastic!  It snowed as early as September and always the first week of June, with warming in between, but it was a wondrous thing to experience.  Not the shoveling.  That part sucked.

School was cancelled only once in the six years I lived there and that was because a water main busted.  It snowed and life moved along, the trucks were out salting before it started and they continued plowing until it stopped.

But it was gorgeous and I could have lived there forever...

Now we're back in (sort of) the South: North Carolina.  The first time school was cancelled because it was too cold, my son pitched an ever-lovin' fit!  Snow days?  What's that?

"Too cold?  They closed the"
"They call this snow?!?"
"Seriously?  They cancelled school because it's icy?!?"
"This isn't snow!"

So once again, like I did for him, I'm explaining to the world what happens here compared to up North. They don't have plows here because they aren't needed.  They don't have a salt reserve because it doesn't get icy enough here to warrant the budget for it.  They don't have contingency plans for snow because they don't ever really have snow, not like what I've seen.  We had a foot of snow here once and the power was out for two days because trucks couldn't get to the lines to repair them.  Granted, that was five years ago and this time we only got two inches.  I also live in a hilly region, like Atlanta and Birmingham.  Icy roads and hills are trouble.

This bus accident (driver and six kids) happened near our home and even though my son goes to West Henderson, not North Henderson, because it was so close to us, people panicked that it was my son and they were calling or texting non-stop.

I was out driving in this, running errands, and even with all of my years of experience, I was fish-tailing all over the road, going 20 mph.  The main roads were slick, but the secondary roads were borderline scary. We're not all idiots that don't know how to drive on ice, we're just drivers on ice because we don't have the necessary tools to treat it.

So go ahead and mock us, because we surely did when y'all were panicking over Hurricane Sandy!

Shoot, hurricane's are just another excuse for us to throw a party down here.  It's BYOB... Batteries, Booze, and Board Games!

1 comment:

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