0

A delightful weather-related treat - Valerie Baldowski

Last Friday, I was treated to a most extraordinary weather rarity, quite uncommon here in the Deep South. It was a four-letter word, beginning with the letter "s."

That's right, the fluffy white stuff. We had heard the forecasts well in advance. Far enough in advance for the meteorologists to whip everyone into a frenzy, sending crowds scooting off to the store to clean the shelves of milk, bread and batteries.

I was expecting it by mid-morning, as forecasted, but it didn't start until around 1:30 p.m. Because of the snow, the schools were closed, so I had to reschedule a couple of interviews. One of those required me to drive to a residence in Ellenwood - way out - almost into DeKalb County. It took me a while to get there, and just as I completed the interview and was leaving the house, the flakes started to fall. As I drove back to the office, I could see they were falling a little faster, but not accumulating yet.

I arrived back at the office and started a story, and each time I looked out the window, there was more snow beginning to stick to the cars in the parking lot. At around 2 p.m., someone got the bright idea to herd us all outside for a group picture, and by then, it was looking like a mini-blizzard. The photo was put onto Facebook, for posterity.

I was rather enjoying the view, and wishing it could have come about seven weeks earlier, to give us a white Christmas. At about 4 p.m., I could see it really beginning to stick. The trees were lovely, with the branches all coated in snow. Someone in the office remarked that the view outside was gorgeous, and it was.

It was surreal, looking at how different the ordinary landscape appeared under a blanket of new-fallen snow. I was told to leave the office early, taking into account the weather and the driving conditions. I did leave "early," although, technically, 5:30 p.m., didn't seem that early. But I was glad to get out in the elements. Using the snow scraper to clear off the windshield and windows while warming up the car brought back memories of living up North.

I felt like a kid again, seeing the snow coming down, dancing in the headlights, and hitting the windshield as I drove home. The back roads hadn't been plowed, yet, and required care in navigating. It took a while longer to get home, as everyone on the freeway was cautiously motoring along much slower than usual. When I got home, the first sight that greeted me upon pulling into the driveway was my son, frolicking in the snow. He gleefully began pelting my car with snowballs. I hadn't even gotten all the way out of the car after parking, before he joyfully began dragging me around the yard, showing me how deep the snow was getting.

By then, I had the strangest craving for Mexican food, which was odd, because I don't usually care for Mexican. My husband had picked up a couple of frozen pizzas for dinner, which didn't appeal to me. Against his protests, I quickly changed clothes and headed for our favorite Mexican restaurant, the one where they shout a welcome to you when you enter. My plan was to get a couple of orders to go, to bring back home. I guess some of the businesses panicked, because that restaurant, to my dismay, was closed. So was my favorite place to go for chicken sandwiches and waffle fries. Even the local burger joint looked deserted. We finally settled for chicken wings. We had those, then scrunched up under a blanket and watched a Chevy Chase movie with a Christmas theme. I enjoyed a couple of glasses of fine wine before bed, in celebration of snow and Friday.

Valerie Baldowski covers government and politics for the Henry Daily Herald. She can be reached via e-mail at vbaldowski@henryherald.com.