A northern view of winter in the south

I spent my first 25 years living in northern climes and wandered back for six more in my thirties so I took driver’s ed in Michigan in January (my second time behind the wheel was in a blizzard), drove on ice and snow, prayed for snow days in a school district where it had to snow 9 or 10 inches in 24 hours to get out of school and have pictures of the family home with snow drifts up to the roof-line across the front of the house. So life in Kentucky, where there’s some snow most every winter but a populace that’s not really well adjusted to winter, has been interesting.

Every winter I have to call my northern friends to report on the latest reactions to snow – always good for a laugh. If you’re from the north this post will seem very funny. If you’re from the south, you’ll probably wonder why we think this is funny. Here are some of my favorites:

  1. I was driving home in the early evening one day and heard an announcement on the radio that it MIGHT snow a little bit in the night or the next day. By the time I got home closings for the next day were going across the bottom of the screen. Mind you, hadn’t started snowing yet, wasn’t supposed to snow very much if it did and businesses and schools were closing by the dozens.
  2. Every time the weather people predict snow—which normally here isn’t more than an inch or two—everyone runs to the grocery stores and stocks up on milk and bread because, after all, you’re probably going to be marooned in your house for a week or two if an inch of snow falls. And that happens so often here….
  3. People here drive like bats out of hell if it’s raining but if there are snow flurries – the kind that melt instantly on contact, leaving the road wet—they slow down and start driving 10 miles an hour.  And when they get home they start calling off all activities for the next day.  Because, whoa, there’s snow, making the ground wet.
  4. School is canceled pretty much every time it snows at all and lots of parents complain if school isn’t called off for a half an inch of snow.
  5. School was canceled one day because it was five degrees and that was too cold for the children to go to school. In northern Minnesota that day children had school when it was 20 below zero… When I was at Northwestern (Evanston, IL) we walked a mile to south campus for class on days when it was 85 below with the wind chill.

After a few years here I called a friend in the Twin Cities one snowy day and cried, “I don’t know what to do. There’s SNOW! ALMOST COVERING THE GRASS! OH MY GOD! I have an errand to run—do you think I dare go out there?” She was too busy having hysterics to answer me…

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