Snow flakes

Published 7:53 am Friday, February 5, 2010

Growing up in places like Hawaii and Florida, I didn’t have to contend much with snow.

Honestly, that was one of the draws to Franklin — getting back to mild weather and getting away from feet of the white stuff that I had become accustomed to while living in Michigan.

So, when weather announcers started predicting six to 12 inches of snow for Western Tidewater before last weekend, I had a mixed reaction.

First, I (like many transplants) dreaded the collective freak-out that might happen at the local grocery stores and on the roads. People who are used to snow and driving in it are notoriously snobby about those who only get it once in awhile. We’re sure to tell all of our Northern and Midwestern friends about how the schools close at the mere mention of frozen precipitation and how the grocery stores run out of bread and milk at about the same time. And let’s not talk about drivers. People up there think people down here can’t drive in snow, and they won’t be convinced otherwise.

Second, I started to get excited about playing in snow for the first time in years. My kids are at a fun age, and I knew taking them outside to slip around and make snowmen, etc., would be a blast.

Luckily, my second reaction turned out to be the most valid.

Yes, when I went to Food Lion on Friday night there were long lines of people purchasing bread and milk. But no one looked half-crazed with worry.

Yes, there were reports of fender benders and people spinning out over the black ice, but nothing that rose to the level of deeming a whole group of people incapable of handling cars in inclement weather. I’ve actually seen more cars in ditches in Michigan than here during snowstorms. The difference is people up there have convinced themselves they know how to drive over snow and ice, and they sometimes drive the speed limit or more. Most people down here slowed down and took their time to get where they were going.

So, the first day back in a Winter Wonderland was awe-inspiring. The white stuff landed softly on the tops of trees and blanketed the ground in billowy waves. My children woke up and stared out of the front windows, amazed at the overnight transformation that took place.

“I wanna go outsiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiide,” the little one howled, rushing to find his boots, hat and gloves.

“It’s cold out dare, Jamie,” the older one said with all the confidence of a big brother, who, being two years older, is much wiser in the ways of the weather. “You are gonna fweeze.”

We risked it and went out to play, much like other families we witnessed in the area while covering the event for the newspaper. Other friends told me about making snowmen or being pulled on a car hood behind a tractor.

It was a blast, and I willingly take back anything I might have said about people down here not reacting well to snow.

We know how to have fun in it. What’s better than that?