Monday, December 1, 2008

Habits Die Hard

It's snowing this morning. Actually, it is a sort of rain/snow mixture, but it's enough to remind me that winter is almost here.

The first snowflakes always bring back memories of the many years spent in Michigan, where the winters were long and harsh with quite a bit of that white stuff. When we first moved there, I had visions of the snow gently falling while I read a book in front of the fireplace and sipped my cup of hot chocolate. Well, let me tell you, that was just a dream. The truth involved wet, smelly boots, mittens draped in front of the fireplace, snowsuits that had to dry out before the next outing - you get the picture. Not exactly a scene from House Beautiful!

Taking a hint from neighbors, I soon learned to stock up on canned goods and fireplace wood that would see us through days and nights if the electricity went out and we had no heat. It was not unusual for us to receive a foot of snow in one day, which was lovely if you didn't plan to go out. Fearing a fire or other catastrophe, the sidewalk was first cleared and then, like Santa, it was "up on the rooftop," to push the snow off onto the ground. Snow tends to melt in sunlight and then freezes when the temps drop. It likes to back up under the eaves and seep into the attic and elsewhere. There is nothing like waking up in the middle of the night with a drip, drip, drip in the light fixture over your bed.

The most popular person in the neighborhood was the county snow plow operater, but after he had made one run down the road, we still had to clear that hill of snow left from the snow plow at the end of the driveway. The most unpopular person in the neighborhood was the fool who lived two doors down and who always managed to get his car sideways in the road, preventing everyone from getting in or out of our dead end road.

In the event that school was dismissed, the neighborhood kids spent the day making tunnels and snow forts. Moms spent the day hoping there would be school the next day.

I don't have to worry about wet snowsuits and boots anymore and there is not usually much snow here in southern Indiana, but when those first flakes fall, I still go into that "emergency mode" and check the pantry to make sure I have all the necessary supplies, just in case.

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