The White Stuff
snowed today. Itís January; thereís supposed to be snow in the
winter, isnít there? Thatís the way it always works with the four
But you donít understand. It snowed in Nashville. We
have seasons here, and we have snow Ė sometimes. However, it is a
rare event and not often enough for people to know exactly what to do
about it when it happens.
It isnít as if the snow was unpredicted. Every since
last weekend, the weathermen have been jumping up and down screaming,
"SNOW on Thursday." No one believed them. "Yeah, yeah,
you said that last time and it didnít happen." Like the people
in the proverb of the boy that "cried wolf" too often, we
Last night on the news, "SNOW, SNOW, itís going
to snow!" This morning we got up and looked out the window - no
snow. So everyone went to work as usual, figuring predictions were
wrong again, as always.
Then at 9:30 it happened Ė SNOW started to fall -
lots of snow, big snowflakes, falling fast. Office workers pressed
their noses against the windows, staring in disbelief. SNOW? SNOW!
Almost before people could decide whether to go home,
the ground was covered. It fell rapidly, inches in an hour. Childcare
facilities began to call to say they were closing. The snow continued
to fall. Panic! People started going home. Schools closed. The snow
continued to fall, almost in defiance of our disbelief.
Auto accidents occurred, hundreds of accidents, multi
car accidents of the kind that close down Interstates. Traffic is soon
in a gridlock. Kids canít get home from school because busses
canít get there to get them. Offices are nearly empty. State offices
close by mid afternoon. Courts close. Shopping malls close. Remember
that this is the south. S-n-o-w spells disaster. The snow continues to
People in the south donít have a clue about how to
drive in snow. Wheels spin as they accelerate too fast; then they
panic and hit the brakes. After all, how do you learn to drive in
snow? Well, you learn by doing it. And in a city where snow is a
rarity, so is snow driving experience.
The snow continues, wet snow; snow that sticks to
everything. It is beautiful as it clings to the branches of trees and
covers everything with a white blanket. We gaze at the winter scene
and wonder how something so pretty can cause so much alarm.
Some give up and get hotel rooms, deciding it isnít
worth the effort to try to get home. Others, stranded on the highways,
seek shelter at truck stops along the way, waiting for accidents to be
cleared and roads to reopen.
By the time the snow quits falling, seven inches cover
the ground, the biggest snow in many years in Nashville. We remembered
snow, but after so many years without very much, we had closed it out
and denied the possibility. Complacency has now been replaced by
The snow finally has mercy on the defeated city and
stops. On the highways, abandoned cars litter the roadside and
ditches. For one who has lived in Chicago and St. Louis where snow is
the norm instead of the exception, the disaster seems unbelievable. To
one who has lived in Nashville and seen snow in the south before,
disaster is expected.
Finally safe at home, we are happy to be out of
harmís way. Buried in white stuff, we wonder where the snow shovel
is and finally decide to wait until tomorrow and let it melt.
Thankfully, snow in Nashville doesnít happen very often and seldom
lasts very long.