Our phones have been going off all day with weather alerts. A winter storm is coming and we're expecting some snow and possible ice. When this happens in the South, we take it seriously. People hit the stores early for essentials like toilet paper, milk, and cereal. I've never understood that, though. Why buy milk when there's a good possibility the power will go out? When ice storms hit our area, the power lines freeze up or limbs fall from pine trees taking them out and we have no power. Some have learned over the years to buy back up generators, but those are expensive. Most of us rely on wood burning fireplaces, candles, oil lamps, flashlights, and heavy clothing. In any event, it will be interesting to see what happens. Usually, when the weathermen make a big deal of it, nothing happens conversely, when they don't make a big deal of an approaching storm, we get slammed.
I remember an extreme ice storm we had back in 1973. I was in high school. Our entire neighborhood was frozen solid. No one had power for days, but we were lucky. My parents were old school and we had gas burning furnaces in our house. When the power went out, Daddy just lit the pilot lights on the heaters and we were warm and toasty. Our freezer, which was full of food at the time, was a chest type deep freezer so it thawed food slowly as long as it stayed shut. When neighbors came calling, Mama invited them to stay. My siblings and I squished together and shared beds. Every nook and cranny of our little cinder block home was packed with people. They slept on every available surface including the sofa, the recliner, and even the floor. It was an interesting time. It seemed like we were having a big party although we weren't. Everyone pitched in and got along well, probably because we were all in the same boat and had no choice, but it was fun.
A particular family friend, Pat Shaw, made it extra joyful. Pat had a way of making everything fun. She was the most jovial person I ever had the pleasure of knowing. No matter what the situation, Pat could find humor in it. Her laughter was infectious, and I loved how she made everything better.
In the middle of the day, my siblings, friends, and I would wander the neighborhood. Before we were allowed to go out, we were cautioned about the possibility of downed power lines. We donned several layers of clothing including plastic bread wrappers over our socks inside our shoes to keep our feet dry and warm. Even with our heavy winter coats, hats, and gloves, we'd come home frostbitten. I can still remember the uncomfortable feeling of my fingers and toes as they began to thaw while sitting by the heater or having my digits plunged into a large bowl of lukewarm water.
I remember the trees coated in a beautiful layer of sheer ice. Like a second skin, they glistened in sunlight. Icicles hung from every surface. The neighborhood was eerily quiet - almost a holy reverence. As we carefully trod across the packed snow, my brother, sister, and I could hear the crunching beneath our feet. The snow and ice melded together quickly and became slick. More than once, one of us would fall and while the others tried to help the fallen one up, our feet would slide out from under us and we'd all fall into a heap, laughing so hard we were afraid we'd wet our pants!
Those were the days! So many wonderful memories came from that challenging time. It was almost a shame when the power company got the power back on. All the board games got packed up, and one by one our neighbors said their goodbyes as they went home.
The empty freezer would slowly be refilled, but whenever we'd go out to the garage and see it, we'd be reminded of the odd concoctions my mother and Pat came up with and how they'd cooked outside on the grill.
This year, if we get snowed or iced in, Phil and I will sit by the fire and enjoy a good book if the power goes out. We aren't expecting anything severe, but you never can tell. We've already had several good snows since we moved here almost 8 years ago and we've had 2 ice events. Thankfully, our power was only out a couple of days. I am keeping my fingers and toes crossed that we don't lose power this time. I love my electric blanket and although I have tons of quilts I could pile on the bed, it's so much nicer to turn up the dial and slide beneath toasty sheets.
“Have you entered the storehouses of the snow, or have you seen the storehouses of the hail?