The Winter Storm that made an appearance in our area last week brought back some wonderful memories of our years in Colorado. Since everything shut down in our neck of the woods, we had no reason to be anywhere. We just hunkered down together and enjoyed the day by the fire. We became like kids again as we watched the flurries pile up on the rooftops and the ground. We marveled at the transformation of our Southern neighborhood into a rare Winter Wonderland.
Our youngest was five when we left Colorado, and remembered very little about our Winter adventures. I was all too happy to fill him in on many of the memories that I held so dear. The most vivid one was his penchant for eating icicles. He did not discriminate…..he loved them all, from the pretty, sparkly ones that hung from our patio table, to the gray ones that clung to the wheel wells of our vehicle. To this day it makes my stomach churn just a little to think of what might be living on these icicles that took the brunt of whatever road sludge I happened to drive through. Consequently, it was a constant challenge to keep him away from these icicles. Each time we went out our front door, he would race at full speed toward the car, yelling ‘Icicle, Icicle’. I would sprint after him, dropping purse, books and whatever else I carried in an effort to swoop in and grab him just in the nick of time. Thankfully, he was usually too exhilarated by the race to be upset that I wouldn’t let him eat the icicles that he worked so hard to try to reach.
This time around, at age 17, he was not interested in eating icicles. However, he DID eat the Monkey-bread that I made on our Southern Snow day. Also a throwback to our Colorado days, whether we had flurries or a full-blown snowstorm, this warm cinnamon and brown-sugar treat was baking in the oven.
Then there were other memories: stepping in a small, icy puddle in sock feet. Taking 20 minutes to wrestle a toddler into his snowsuit, mittens and snow-boots only to have him announce that he had to go potty….NOW!!! That feeling of vulnerability as your car hits a patch of ice and is sliding across the road, and you are powerless to stop it. The sense of panic that you feel when you don’t take the time to brush the snow off the top of your vehicle and then brake a little too hard at a red-light, sending an entire wall of snow sliding over your windshield.
Of course, not everyone’s experience last week was a trip down Memory Lane. Many, including a cousin of mine, were caught up in the mass exodus from Atlanta, and wound up spending 10-24 hours in their cars. Also, one of my uncles was stranded for about 6 hours outside of Birmingham. Many people were inconvenienced, and even endangered at times. However, the brutality of these conditions was tempered with stories of people bringing food, and leading stranded people to local businesses where they could stay warm. It seems with each crisis that we encounter, there are those who step in and do something to make things more bearable for those who are suffering. It is something we could all do, and it is as simple as giving a smile or an encouraging word to someone who appears to be struggling. Can you imagine the impact if we strive to reach out at least once a day? It could change a life, even our own, for the better.