February bids farewell – with no snowfall in sight

As February packs its bags, says goodbye and gets ready to head out of town, whispers of the eventual coming of spring are already popping up around us.

Daffodils and dandelions have started making their appearances, speaking softly of spring’s not-too-distant – probably, maybe, well this IS Alabama, you can never be sure – arrival.

It’s been a pretty mild February, and we’re yet to have any snow this winter. It isn’t all that surprising, but it’s still a shame. Admittedly, the prospects are rather dismal at best, yet still not entirely out of the question, so one can maintain a modicum of hope for a flurry or two – or three or four.

As much as I love spring, and we’ve had some days that felt like it already, the sprinklings of spring cast increasing doubt on the likelihood of enjoying a lovely dusting of snow this winter. With each passing year, such moments seem fewer, and I feel a wistful longing for the snow days gone by.

One of my earliest memories of snow – and ice – involves “sledding” on a round garbage can lid. I was somewhere in the vicinity of 4-5 years old, as I recall, gleefully sliding across the front yard of our old house, about a mile from where we live now, again and again as my parents gave me a push.

I’ve always loved the idea of building a snowman, but I’ve seldom had much chance to practice, as often we haven’t had the right type of snow to stick. I was especially determined at one point, though, and managed to cram enough snow together to form a little snowman about 18 inches tall. He had two pennies for eyes, and my grandmother kept him in her deep freeze for years. I would go down the stairs and open it and visit him from time to time. He eventually fell apart or merged with other ice. I was disappointed the day I realized he was gone.

The deepest snow I remember was in 1988. I was 8 years old, and my best friend was over to play. I had a “proper” sled, and it got some good use. We made snow angels, which I’d never done before – or since, I don’t think – and walked all around in the snow. I remember our neighbor, Mrs. Hill, who lived two doors away from my grandparents, who lived next door to us, calling out as we were walking by her house, asking if we would bring her newspaper up the driveway to her.

In 1992, as I’m sure many from Russellville will recall, we had what goes down in my memory as “the big ice storm.” One of the main things I remember are the sounds of the trees cracking as they snapped in two. There were so many, and it was rather loud. I remember listening with my grandparents. I had never experienced anything like it – and, again, haven’t since. Although it was concerning, there was also a certain beauty to it.

Most people, as I recall, lost power. We were fortunate, getting power and cable back on the third day. I remember bundling up like we never had before. I recall a classmate saying their power was out for three weeks.

As soon as we had a good chance, we had a gas heater installed, which got good use two years later when “Deep Freeze ’96” happened. I remember my mom wrapping potatoes in aluminum foil and throwing them in our fire in the den fireplace. I marveled that they didn’t burn up, having never seen anything like it at the time, and they came out perfectly.

These days, it’s exciting to even see a few flakes, and I count myself especially fortunate if there’s enough snow to fully cover the grass. I always hope for at least enough to do that. While I’m not expecting much, or any, this winter, it’s still fun to think about and hope for. There’s a certain magic to snow, and it’s pleasant to recall the memories it has helped inspire.

So, though I do have some place to go, I still say, “Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!”

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