Crow Tastes Pretty Good In Snow
Posted Jan. 24, 2022
My last column criticized I-20 as a barrier to snow in the classic South. “Winter after winter, radar reveals blue, pink, and white blotches rolling north of I-20. Below it? Green blotches of rain. Southerners who live along or south of that band of asphalt can forget snow. It’s a latitude thing.”
The weather gods heeded my lament, and down came the flakes. So I’ll take a smidgen of credit or blame (in the eyes of some) for the January 21-22 snow.
I stayed up past midnight watching flakes tumble past floodlights. They stuck, as we say, and I knew I’d better write an apology column. It’s one I’m glad to write. I like a snow or two but year after year we get none where I live. That changed overnight.
I’ll confess a little crow marinated in snow tastes pretty good.
Come daybreak I went onto my deck with a yardstick—three inches. That qualifies as a blizzard in the land of green blotches of rain. As the coffee percolated this morning the laughter of children playing in snow drifted through woods, and that brought back childhood memories. On those rare, snow-blanketed mornings when I happened to awaken first, I could tell something was different. The world seemed muted. A strange, soft silence reigned. Peeking through the window, I got a jolt. Snow had fallen throughout the night, and I had missed the show.
Few things rival the spellbinding beauty of quarter-sized flakes cartwheeling through the air. Back in boyhood, mesmerized by tumbling flakes, I knew good would come from those non-identical crystals. No school. A snowman. A friendly snowball fight. Skim a layer off the car roof into a bowl, mix in sugar, vanilla extract, and milk and, voilà, ice cream.
A snowfall made for a time of adventurous survival too. Those rare days of childhood snow sometimes knocked out the power. That meant tomato soup warmed over gas space heaters. It meant too wet clothes and freezing hands and toes. And even that misery held its own peculiar brand of joy.
No matter how much or how little snow we got, it merited movie making. Somewhere a brittle strip of film sits in a canister. My Dad, as many dads did in the ’50s, bought a Bell & Howell 8 millimeter camera and made home movies. To this day, I can see a snowfall he captured on film. It’s April 8, an amazingly late snow. Our dog, Duke, romps in the snow. Mom holds up a handmade sign giving the date and the snow’s depth of eight inches. The film jerks and swings wildly. Suddenly someone else is filming and my father runs into the camera: red from the cold, his heavy 5 o’clock shadow evident. Closer he comes, his face near the lens. Mom always said that shot made him look like an escaped convict. He was but 32 years old. He was a boy playing in the snow. Snow makes children of us Southerners. That’s its true beauty.
Sixty-four years later in the South Carolina Midlands, we’re children once again. I should have known that as soon as my I-20 no snow column hit the presses it’d snow right away. It did, and I am glad, and I’ll say it one more time. Crow tastes pretty good when you’re looking over a rare Southern snowy landscape.
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