My family has deep roots in Kentucky (back to the 1790’s) but I grew up in Michigan and lived in the Chicago area for many years. So I’ve been here in the Bluegrass for 15+ years and I still get the biggest kick out of how much everybody here freaks out about winter.
When I was a kid we prayed for snow days; in Michigan they waited until the last possible minute (i.e. 6 a.m. that day) to decide whether to cancel school. There had to be something like 10 inches already on the ground for us to get a day off. No such thing as calling school because it was too cold. In Chicago the kids even go to school on those days when the windchill is 55 or 85 below zero.
Here in Kentucky if they tell you on Thursday afternoon that it MIGHT snow tomorrow, school and business closings start rolling across the screen within the hour. People flood the grocery stores and buy up all the milk and bread. Because you know how often you hear that Kentucky has had so much snow that no one can get out of their house.
In my lifetime-62 years –that would be …. NEVER. Once there was a big snow that messed up the freeways for a week or so but nobody in my family mentioned being unable to get out in town.
If there’s a light dusting of snow that melts instantly, leaving the streets wet, people slow down and drive 5 mph. The same folks drive like bats out of hell if it’s raining… leaving the streets wet. No one can explain to me why wet streets are sometimes a cause for terror and other times cause for no concern at all.
If the temperature dips to something like 5 or 10 degrees, school is cancelled because there’s apparently something bad for children about walking from the drop-off by the school to the school in 10 degrees. Often on the same day it’s 20 below in northern Minnesota or Michigan and kids walk to school.
This Winter Panic Syndrome apparently happens pretty much anywhere in the South where winter weather occasionally shows up. I just can’t figure out why the panic in places where there’s rarely more than an inch of snow or a brief dip in temperature.
They say there may be snow starting late tomorrow and going into Monday. Uh oh. Better buy a few gallons of milk. Or not. I don’t eat/drink dairy. And I’m not afraid we’ll be housebound beyond the limits of our well-stocked fridge and freezer. Because this is Kentucky, not the Upper Peninsula. And you can actually drive with snow on the ground. To the groceries stores, which miraculously don’t close just because it snowed.