I love a rainy day, a rainy morning, or even a rainy night. I love to watch a thunderstorm. The beauty of lightning is amazing. But when winter comes and it snows, I’m ecstatic. It’s rather simple. I’m a Yankee. And for those who aren’t familiar with our regions – that means I was born and raised above the Mason Dixon Line or up north where it’s colder.
Living up north means you always had a snow shovel in your car, an extra blanket or two, a bucket of sand, maybe a plank of wood, and cars had snow tires. But my husband loved Virginia and wanted to move down here. So I came.
It’s a beautiful state with a rich history. It’s green, and lush, with very fertile land. It’s also hazy, hot, and humid in the summer to the point of wondering if you need gills to breath when the humidity hits 100%. Our winters tend to be cold, damp, and rainy. It chills to the bone. The humidity is often 100%. Gills would be good.
The SE corner of Virginia doesn’t get much snow and when it does come, it never lasts. Maybe that a good thing because it is such a rare occurrence that no one knows how to drive in it. When white flakes fall, it’s like the whole area comes to a complete halt. For a Yankee, it’s hysterical. We are used to not seeing blacktop on the roads sometimes for months.
So many years ago, being young and inexperienced with the area, I bundled my kindergartner up, and sent her to wait for the bus. It didn’t come. I later found out I’m supposed to watch the TV for school closings. What? Why? We had school closings when the snowplows got stuck in the blizzard. We had school closings when the school’s furnace died. We had school closings when there was no electric. But they never closed school over flurries. I finally found someone to answer the phone at the school board office. Yes, they had closed school. I’m laughing. Tears are rolling down my cheeks. They closed school over a dusting? Apparently, the bus drivers don’t like driving in snow when they aren’t used to it.
There wasn’t enough snow to make a snowman. Maybe if I scooped the entire yard I might have been able to make a snowball. But I let the girls play until they were covered in mud. Yes, mud. Up north the ground freezes until spring. Here we have a soggy sponge with white flakes on top of grass.
I cleaned the girls up and took them with me to the grocery store. There were a few tire tracks through the snow. I had the road to myself. There are two cars in the parking lot and the store is closed. In fact, everything is closed. The whole area grinds to a halt when white stuff falls from the sky.
After living here for years, I’ve discovered there are men with pickup trucks, the kind that is jacked up so it looks as if the owner is ready to drive through four feet of snow. For these guys, snow is a reason to play. It’s why they have these trucks. They roam the countryside looking for a pretty young girl whose car has slipped into a ditch because she doesn’t know how to drive in the snow. You don’t have to call for help. They will find you and pull you out. They wear orange hunting gear, John Deere hats, and they don’t want money. It’s a macho thing.
Young men will ring your doorbell and ask if you want your walkway shoveled. They have a pointed garden shovel in their hand. They are insistent. No thanks. This is Virginia. It will melt tomorrow. Worst-case scenario, the day after tomorrow, it will melt.
People stock up as if a hurricane were coming. Grocery stores run out of milk, bottled water, bread, peanut butter, ravioli in cans, beer, and toilet paper. Yankees race to the meat department to stock up on manager specials.
A few days ago, it was sixty degrees Fahrenheit. That’s sweater weather, except it was drizzling. The problem is it has rained for days. The ground is soggy. It can only absorb so much water. If you walk through the yard, it makes squishy sounds.
I’m tired of the rain. The dogs don’t want to go out in the rain. I must force them. I’ve had to push my Boxer out the door and drag her into the grass. It never rains hard enough to wash away what the dogs leave behind so the backyard becomes a minefield of poop. I swear that wet poop grows in size, and lasts for months. I’ve thought about buying her boots because she doesn’t want to get her feet wet. I’ve held the umbrella over her while I got soaked. She’s not spoiled or anything.
A few hours ago, the world looked white, there was three inches of snow on my car, the big trash bin, the bird bath, etc. A half hour later, everything looked like slush. The three inches of snow has been reduced to the thickness of your finger. It’s supposed to get colder, very cold for here. That slush will turn to ice. That will be dangerous.
My daughter called me tonight. She was trying to get home in the snow. She’s a highly specialized registered nurse, and she had to get from a patient’s house to the hospital before she could quit for the night. Except the car in front of her was going 23 mph in a 60 mph zone, and she couldn’t pass because the car was hogging both lanes. She was whining.
I sit in front of my computer working on the next book while I listen to the sounds outside or rather lack of them. Snow muffles sound, and only those who must be out will brave the streets. When it’s very quiet, I know we’ve reverted back to snowflakes because the dripping sounds stop. I’ll sleep in because the world around me will be extra quiet.
Joan Reeves will be back with us next month.