When you go into your local grocery store to pick up a prescription and a pack of hot dog buns (sigh, your kids have left and gone back to college and work, so you have an empty nester grocery basket again), you were astonished to see that the bread shelves were bare; the only items left were several squashed packs and a plethora of English muffins. The milk case doesn’t fare much better. You pick up a lone carton of Organic Skim. There is a winter storm warning for your neck of the woods, and sales of bread and milk always go way up. You envision folks sitting around drinking milk and eating pieces of bread and trying to stay warm. The south is not known for adjusting to such winter conditions with great calm. We fall into a panic and go buy bread and milk.
Ditto firewood. You witness a young couple with three children under the age of six. They have a half cord of firewood stacked in the cart between tiny writhing bodies, and loaves of bread hanging over the edges. When you go out in the parking lot, you see a young woman with Florida plates–bless her heart– loading her trunk with a cord o’ Duraflame.
Welcome to the south, land of snow wimps. Although actually, you can look at it from a different perspective: are we wimps, or are we boy and girl scouts extraordinaire with our solemn vows to be prepared at all times?
Although you grew up in the south, you remember when you later lived in the northeast and the midwest. The power went off at the drop of a hat. In the midwest, when the temperature finally climbed out of the subs and reached 32 F, you threw on a jacket and walked to work. But now, your blood has thinned and you are a wimp. Your friend’s husband is from upstate New York (think Buffalo). “Southerners are always so surprised when it gets cold in the winter,” he observed. “They take it so personally.” You bet we do, sonny. It is a personal affront. How dare it get cold? How dare it ice in our land? And how dare they issue a winter storm warning on a Sunday, when in the Deep South, you aren’t allowed to buy alcohol to keep you warm by the Duraflame? Hopefully most have their bourbon and brew socked away already. Many in the north think we own basement stills anyway.
Good Lord–Jim Cantore the Weather Channel extremist is in your ‘hood–never a good sign. Last time he visited you couldn’t get out of your neighborhood for three days (fall flood). Better high-tail it back to your cabin and get fever. Thank goodness your son brought in an armload of firewood and cleaned out the fireplace before he shoved off to college. Time to shore up and get socked in. You miss the old days when people in the south would drive with chains flopping on their tires. Now we don’t dare leave the hearth. Where you live it can get wicked icy. So you and your husband will wait it out, nibbling English muffins and sipping… skim. Scout’s honor.