It’s 35 degrees at high noon in my South Alabama home, which means I’m nearly dead. Fuzzy socks, scarves, sweaters, hot coffee, and my snuggly dogs keep me alive. There’s bubbling beef stew on the stove for dinner, if I live that long.
Of course, by the time you read this, Southern weather will have us all basking in a 75 degree sunny day, before it plummets into the 40’s again the next day. It’s a roller-coaster weather trick God uses to keep everyone from moving down here.
The first time I saw real snow in North Alabama, I cried because I realized that as a Southern child, I’d been duped, bamboozled, deceived and downright lied to on a biblical scale. Snowflakes weren’t 4 inches wide like they were on Charlie Brown’s Christmas Special where they drifted downward to the music of Vince Guaraldi and landed on children’s tongues. They didn’t look like snowflakes our teacher taught us to cut from folded pointy paper in my first-grade classroom, and surely, Mrs. Foley wouldn’t have lied to us about the authenticity of such a thing.
The snow swirling at Granddaddy’s house just south of Huntsville was more like what I saw on the man’s black turtleneck sweater on the Head and Shoulders commercials. “Look at the snow!” my Aunt cried. “Where?” I honestly asked. “There, see it swirling everywhere?” I didn’t see a thing because I was expecting glitter, shimmer, sparkle and shine on flakes as big as my hand, and of course, the arrival of The Snow Queen herself.
Northerners think we’re hilarious for not being able to drive on icy roads, and yet, we have no snow chains or one-horse open sleighs to help us over the frozen rivers and through the frosty woods. They snicker when we close schools and clear the shelves of bread and milk, and yet, I’ve seen major Yankee breakdowns when they’re subjected to humidity and love bugs.
If I had a dollar for every car with an out of state license plate, I’ve seen being towed out of the beach sand because they thought they could drive on it, I’d be rich. To be bold enough to chuckle at us for using our fireplaces and air-conditioners at the same time in order to achieve maximum winter atmosphere, is downright mean, considering they fall to their knees in prayer when they see a school of porpoise because they think they are rowdy sharks.
Walking with a hop-a-long gait due to sunburnt thighs, they still giggle because we don’t know how to ice skate, and yet, they don’t know they are at the “Gulf,” not the “Ocean.” And please, dear God, let me see one more tourist when seaweed brushes against their legs, because it’s the best show ever. Flopping around in the sand like a mullet, it doesn’t get any better than that.
We don’t understand them, and they don’t understand us. We think living in a snowy paradise would be like a year-round cozy Christmas movie, and they think living in the South turns them into Scarlett and Rhett.
It’s supposed to dip into the 20’s tonight, so I’ll wrap my Beagle in her doggie-blanket, then I’ll call my friends in Boston and tell them how tough I am to live through a freezing night in Alabama.
To see more photos of what Southerners think a dreamy snow day is like, click here: Baby it’s cold outside.
This story first appeared on AL.com and in their Mobile, Birmingham and Huntsville newspapers.