Snow in the Southland is a rare commodity. Snow when people actually WANT it, like around the holidays, is nigh upon unheard of in these parts.
So, when the flakes started falling about sundown last night most of the grownups around me were just as giddy and giggly as the few children in attendance. Greenville County, South Carolina was experiencing the first white Christmas since 1963, according to our local weathermen.
The snow fell throughout the night and we were greeted by a blinding white landscape this morning. Of course, the Sun has peeked his head out now so what’s left isn’t likely long for this world.
Snow brings out a certain special madness among Southerners. We so seldom get a simple pretty snow that we aren’t quite certain how to take them when they come along. Here, our winter weather of choice is ICE. This region has been smacked by four big ice storms in my memory. The first big one I remember was in 1988. The Monday we went back to school from Christmas break, it started snowing and icing. We left school by lunchtime that Monday and didn’t return until Wednesday of the FOLLOWING week. We missed seven school days and got no spring break that year.
My sophomore year in college saw a big snow, too. I learned a very important lesson in that storm; education majors should not get into snowball fights with engineering majors — especially if said engineering majors have access to their engineering lab. Surgical tubing and some Gore-tex pouches will launch a slushball nearly 100 yards with enough energy to take a guy completely off a bicycle. The funniest part of that particular day, however, was the two foreign students from South Africa. They’d NEVER seen snow and were convinced the sky was falling and the world was coming to an end. After we bopped them with a few good snowballs and served both of them some homemade snow ice cream, they started to come around.
It was the ice storm of 2002 that caused the most damage of any winter weather I remember. We got three or four inches of ICE. This stuff had just enough snow mixed in for color. Ice isn’t like snow in any way shape or form other than being cold. Four inches of ice is HEAVY; heavy enough to bring down main power lines — the big boys on the steel towers, not just the smaller residential stuff. It decimated trees — especially pines and other evergreens that are soft woods and woefully unsuited for weight bearing. By the time the storm lifted, most of Upstate SC was out of power. Our neighborhood went five days in the dark and some of the more remote places, like Glassy Mountain up in Pickens, went a full two weeks without power. I saw crews from as far away as Alabama working on the lines. It was a serious mess, but ever since then, we haven’t had a major outage, mainly because all the trees and limbs threatening power lines came down in that storm!
So I hope all my northern readers will forgive me my excitement over snow. I realize y’all get more snow in a day than I’ve seen in my lifetime, but we don’t laugh at you when you can’t move in our July humidity, so you could go easy on us and our poor winter driving skills!
Now go out and have some fun in what’s left of the white stuff and when you come in, get those feet dried off and warm. I don’t want anyone catching his or her death over this Christmas break!
Love y’all and y’all take care 🙂