Sunday, February 16, 2014

Snow job

Just about every time there is a hint of snow in the forecast, all of my friends — and I do mean all of my friends — comment that I must be used to it.

After all, I spent the first 25 years of my life in Yankeeland, including 22 years in Pennsylvania and three years in New England.

Yep. Ha, ha. I'm used to it. Snow is my middle name. That's why I've spent the past 38 years of my life in North Carolina. I got so used to snow that I finally had to get away.

Heavy snow falls in our back yard. Sigh.
 There's no doubt that as a child I revelled in the snow. We went sledding in it; we built intricate snow forts and tunnels in it; we had snowball fights in it; we caught flakes with our tongues and we built snowmen.

All that is fine when you're a kid. Everything changes when you have to drive in it.

The snow that finally pushed me over the top came in the winter of 1975. I was covering sports for a small newspaper in Quakertown, PA., and it was prep basketball season. Regionals, to be exact. It was the night one of the local teams advanced to the regionals, which were being held in the Little Palestra in Philadelphia, just an hour away. Snow was in the forecast, but nothing closed for snow in Yankeeland back in those days, so I drove to the game in my trusty Dodge Dart.

It snowed on the ride down. It snowed during the game. And it was snowing when the game was over. Even for a Yankee used to snow, the ride back in a couple of inches of new-fallen snow was a real ordeal. Never again, I told myself, and a year later, I was in Lexington, NC, working for The Dispatch.

Our neighborhood takes on a decidedly northern exposure.
 While moving to North Carolina didn't totally eliminate snow from my winters, it certainly cut down on the accum-ulation. I do remember going to one ACC Tournament in Greensboro one March in the early 1980s and it snowed about an inch, putting me into a kind of post traumatic snow disorder, but I survived that one, too.

Anyway, the snow this past week brought back memories, both good and not so good. I enjoyed the quiet snowfall. I get tickled when grown adults rush to make snow cream (an apparent southern delicacy we never enjoyed in Pennsylvania) and then claim they're making it for their kids. But, trying to be clever, I walked home from work to avoid driving in the stuff.

It was a nice walk, though. Flakes on my nose and eye lashes. No, wait...

I'm not trying to be a cynic about this. I do enjoy the occasional snowfall — the pureness of it all, the quiet solitude that blankets the town, the pleasant childhood memories it evokes — but I also enjoy the fact that in piedmont North Carolina, at least, it's pretty much all melted a day or two later.

I understand why my southern friends get excited when it snows because it really is an event. I enjoy watching them watching it. I mean, really. By Thursday morning, an army of snowmen had literally mushroomed in our neighborhood. Every small incline in town that even suggested that the pull of gravity might be involved had become a ski slope.

It was wondrous. Just don't expect me to be used to it.

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