Thursday, December 11, 2008

It’s REALLY beginning to look a REAL Lot Like…

I’ll say it, “it really IS beginning to look a LOT like Christmas,” only it looks like somewhere else, not here.

On the Texas Gulf Coast, we don’t get too much snow. That’s an understatement. When I was one year old we had a pretty good snow. Then, when I was in eighth grade, we had a really good one, too. I remember Kelly Hutchinson made himself a “snowburger” from one of the cars in the teacher’s parking lot. I’ll bet it tasted a lot like Texas City road film. In 1988, just before Christmas we had a really nice one, very dry and squeaky. You couldn’t even pack it into a snowball.

Looking back only a few years to 2004, the BLIZZ ARD of ’04, was a real treat. For those of you not in this area, we had a veritable white-out on Christmas Eve. Children and adults alike were outside, shivering and grinning, watching the white stuff blow in from the North. The whole area looked like a fairyland. A real and true White Christmas.

This one was a total surprise. I knew it was going to get cold, but a winter wonderland was quite unexpected. At 5:47 a.m., my daughter at Texas A&M texted me that it was snowing. YAY! How cool is that. Never get down here; put it outta your mind.

At about 3:30 p.m., she called and reported that it was snowing again in College Station, Texas, a couple of hours North and West of us. Really neat.

On the drive home, I heard sleet hitting the car on the passenger side, and as the drive progressed, by the time I got to my hometown, the big flakes were floating down intermingled with the freezing rain. An old excitement began to build in my gut; I can’t wait to get out in this, I hope it sticks!

As I understand it, the people who live with this all the time aren’t so excited by the prospect of any kind of frozen precipitation, but this is the Gulf Coast, and it’s rare for this kind of occurrence.

On arriving home, the house was dark and empty; my Katiebelle had gone shopping with her boyfriend and his mom and sister, and my little one was at her grandmother’s waiting for Mom to pick her up. The little doggies were very excited, and I immediately let them out to run around. I don’t think they know what snow is, consciously, but they did realize that it was cold and that there were lots of little white things to chase. At that time, I noticed that the deck was beginning to show a little accumulation of the white stuff.

I know right about now in this post, Charley will be snorting contemptuously at the fascination and reverence I am reacting to the snow with, but he’s in Oregon and sees this stuff all of the time. He raises Huskies, and I don’t think you’re allowed to NOT have snow with those fine dogs. Bear with me, Charley!

So, I hurried back out front to watch the miracle (Gulf Coast, remember) falling from the sky. The road was empty except for me. Then Dennis across the street came out, grinning like a big goober. We “howdy-ed” and then began to revert back many years to a pure enjoyment of the magical moment. His sixth grade daughter bolted from the house all bundled up, followed shortly by his five year-old son. We stood under the streetlight and Tommy exclaimed loudly, “I WISHED for it to snow! And it DID!”

I thanked him, and went back to conversing with his grinning dad. It turns out that Dennis is a native Iowan, and he even used to be depressed at Christmas on first arriving on our Paradise on the Coast. He couldn’t get used to standing around in shorts and a t-shirt, swatting mosquitoes in celebration of the Yuletide.

The rest of the young people began to appear outside, bundled up in their multiple light jackets and socks on their hands. Remember, we don’t get too cold very often; around here, what passes for a snowsuit is a set of warm-ups stuffed with old underwear and free t-shirts from the blood drives!

Standing in the thoroughfare, we saw a silver Dodge ease up to the corner under the streetlamp and a slender form emerged and shuffled quickly across the lane to meet with her friends already playing out in the snow. My youngest had arrived home. The little shivering, giggling gang ran from house to house, scraping as much snow off of the cars and mailboxes as they could to form snowballs to lob at one another, and their dads.

I stayed out for perhaps an hour, then came in to thaw out. I couldn’t feel either pinky toe, and the melt had finally worked its way through the fleece jacket I was wearing. I used a blow dryer to try to get the feeling back in my toes.

Soon, cabin fever got the best of me; being cooped up in the house with the blizzard raging outside made me want to get out and make sure the food supplies were in, just in case we would be snowed in for a month or so. I also had to get the present for the gift exchange at work on Thursday and pick up the ingredients for the salsa I was scheduled to bring.

In the parking lot of the Christmas HeadquartersMart, the lights illuminated the steady blowing flakes, which had increased in size and intensity from earlier. It was like being somewhere besides Alvin, Texas. The few people inside seemed genuinely glad to be there, or at least the endorphins released by seeing snow down here were registering as seasonal elation on most every face I encountered.

The snow is all but melted, save for the patches still in the shade. The slush angels that my girl and her friends made are just memories and pixels in jpeg files by now.
But the surprise blizzard of 2008 will be fresh and cool in our hearts long after the feeling comes back to my toes.

NOW it feels like Christmas!


charleyd said...

I feel the same exhilaration sometimes. We're supposed to have snow coming in this weekend. The dogs love being in their element, and they're fun to watch. I just wish it would only snow from Friday afternoon through Saturday, be melted off by Monday morning, and stay off of the trees near the power lines.

I do suggest you invest in a good pair of Sorell boots and a pair of wool socks just incase this happens again.

the photoSmith said...

That was quite the surprise! It was so bizarre driving home in the snow. It did remind me of the snow of 04. I'll have to get a post going for that one.

invigilator_tex said...

Watch out where the huskies go, and don't you eat that yellow snow.

DammitWomann said...

How lucky you are! Living in sunny SoCal, we don't get snow!