And so winter has set in. The Weather Channel is predicting lows in the teens on Monday night next, lows not seen in South Georgia for the last 20 years. Larry took his gauges out today and checked the antifreeze in all the vehicles to make sure they’re ready for the cold. They are, so long as it doesn’t drop below -50 degrees. He believes in overkill. He carefully rewrapped the outside faucets with old blankets and such. Tomorrow, he’ll wrap the pump. We southerners don’t take cold weather lightly when it does come our way. We prepare.
Cold weather does something to our attitudes though. I think I’m safe in saying that most of us don’t care for this frigid blast. Some southerners who yearn for snow go off to Colorado or North Carolina and ski a bit, then return, thanking God for their balmy homes. We just don’t know what to do with cold weather. It’s not in our blood.
The first winter I spent on the campus of the University of Georgia, it snowed about 4 inches in Athens. From the window of my cozy dorm, I watched big cold flakes cover the ground like a life-sized supple comforter; when we could no longer stand and watch, we all went outside to play in the wet stuff. We “borrowed” trays from the cafeteria and used them to slide down Lumpkin Hill and other inclines. Unfortunately, we found it quite difficult to make our way back up the hill for an instant replay, but we managed for a while until the cold drove us back indoors. None of us really had the proper clothing for such weather. Playing in the snow that Sunday was fun, but when it remained on the sidewalks and streets on Monday, problems began.
I made it to my early morning class just fine, but when I tried leave and to navigate the steps leading down from Le Conte Hall, I slipped and fell down them. My pride was injured almost as badly as my ankle, which was visibly swelling as I lay there watching. Some nice folks helped me to the infirmary, where the doctor on call pronounced it sprained. He gave me a pair of crutches and sent me back to my dorm, where I lived on the 3rd floor. I won’t provide all the gory details, but let it suffice to say that the next couple of weeks were rough. The snow, of course, was gone even before I missed my afternoon class.
I pleasantly remember playing in the snow with my children when they were small. I also remember the snow storm of ’93, but by then my boys didn’t need me to play in the snow. I just kept them and their vehicles off the roads, much to their chagrin. Of course, today’s forecast for us is cold, not snow, but my Atlanta grandchildren might get to build a small snowman. I hope they do. Children and snow are such a wonderful combination.
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