Monday, January 10, 2011


The status postings started around 10 p.m. last night. "Snow!" posted one friend. "A blizzard!" added another. The Southern end of Facebook has been hyperventilating with a frenzy of weather-related activity. From Mississippi to the Carolinas, friends and friends-of-friends dash outside to roll about in it, and then warm their frigid fingers just enough to type out new status update. Friend X "just made a snowmonkey!" Friend Y "made snow angels and had a snowball fight and ate snow cream!" Friend Z "wiped out riding on a strip of aluminum siding from the neighbor's trailer." Friend Z resides in Alabama.

Of course, minivan passengers and drivers participated as well. We tried to make it to the creek from the top of the yard, rifling through the shed for anything that looked remotely slippery and provided a barrier between butt and snow. Deflated pool rafts, beat-up old kayaks, removable canoe seats, cardboard. We wadded up knots of snow with bits of twigs and leaf parts sticking out and lobbed them at each other. One of us dropped and flailed around in the deep snow, making not so much a snow angel as a snow possum with a bad case of the shakes.

I drew the line at "snow cream." I would no more add sugar and vanilla to this snow and call it snow cream than I would add lemon and sugar to a cup of summer rain and call it lemonade. I'm sure it's fine, if your favorite ice cream flavor is Temple Inland Cardboard.

Remember sliding plastic newspaper bags between layers of socks and snapping around a rubber band to keep your feet snow proof? Remember sneaking out your mother's cookie sheets and using them to rocket down the big hill? That's one element I love about a snow day in Georgia—the ingenuity factor. Did they even sell thick warm winter socks in the Davidson's in Atlanta back in the day? Or snow boots? Yes, we get goofy on snow days—humor us, dear friends from colder climates. Having a virtual community outlet for all this goofiness just adds to the fun—almost like meeting up with all the neighborhood kids you know and some you don't because they attend private school or just have weird parents. You dive head-first down an icy roller coaster of a road, tumble over each other in puffy winter coats, or pelt each other with rock-hard snow balls. Some bonding occurs, even if it doesn't last past the first day of brown mush on the sidewalk edges and the early morning chaos of school resuming.

In the late afternoon, Husband and I mushed through the crunchy, icing-over snow to the end of the street and back, playing CSI with all the fishtailed tire tracks and washouts. We hypothesized about who tried to go where and how they failed. "Who thinks they're that important?" Husband asked about whoever tried to pray their way down our winding, undulating, unsalted road today. We paused and looked around, taking deep breaths as the snow-smell in the air returned. The flat pasture snow soaked up the purple of dusk. A chimney exhaled a chubby puff of smoke, and driveway lamps started to flicker their faint yellow light. "Who thinks they've got something better to do than stay home and enjoy this?" We shuffled home without speaking, listening to our own steps, our rooster telling the hens to go to sleep and maybe the ground would magically reappear by morning. From Husband's pocket sounded the occasional muffled ping of his smartphone, announcing another Facebook friend's good day in the snow.

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