Let me tell you about the Carolinas.
We have Cheerwine. Barbecue. A whole month to commemorate barbecue, in fact. If there isn’t a minor-league baseball team in your town, there’s one in the next. The mountains are that way, the beach the other. Right in the middle ain’t too bad, either.
Did I mention the barbecue?
The Carolinas are loaded with day trips: Asheville, Greensboro, Wilmington north of the line, Greenville, Columbia and Charleston south of it. Mountain apples. Loucountry boil. And a good 12 months of grilling season. If it isn’t God’s country, it’s at least Jesus‘.
So, when you’re a Carolinian, you get an abundance of kick-ass and a surplus of phenomenal. But there’s one thing that’s hard to come by, tougher to get than a parking spot during race week:
A snow day.
I want. a damn. snow day.
# # #
When we lived in Tallahassee, I missed snow days less.
Like Buffalo Bills fans don’t miss the playoffs and vegans don’t miss pork rinds (I presume), it’s out of sight (or recent history) out of mind when you live on the Florida Panhandle, and are more likely to have lizards in your Christmas tree than snow flakes.
Charlotte meteorologists toy with us like a hobo spider does a wounded, well, a smaller wounded spider.
A chance of snow in the “viewing area” prompts news teasers and apocalyptic proclamations leading up to your nightly news. “Find out how much snow YOUR neighborhood will get. Details at 11!”
Which is fine, if your neighborhood is in the mountainous northeast corner of our beautiful state, over the river and beyond the continental divide.
Meanwhile, Carolinians everywhere clear the grocery shelves of bread and grocer’s coolers of milk in what becomes a day of french toast for everyone from Murphy to Morehead City, Belmont to Beaufort.
I’ve forgiven all four NFL coaches who’ve beaten the Denver Broncos in Super Bowls, but the animosity I feel toward one particular Charlotte TV meteorologist is best explained like this: If he was in a parade, in a float with Justin Bieber and the Disney Channel lead kids shows writer, and I had two rotten tomatoes?
I’d throw them both at this meteorologist.
So while friends to the north complain of single digit temperatures and mountains of snow to shovel, we get freezing rain that clings to the front end of a fast-moving Pontiac.
While the ground stays frozen above the Mason-Dixon line, below it, we get flooded mud puddles. Where snowmen and igloos sit in your yards, we have water-bogged grass and red clay mud that comes out after approximately 237 wash cycles.
I’m getting fired up just writing this.
I want to build igloos with my kids.
Snowmen, even. Maybe put a dodgers cap on one and launch ourselves at him in a four-person sled. I want to shovel a drive, lob snowballs at my neighbors’ cars, write my name on a snow bank.
Even dot the “I” in Eli.
As a Colorado kid, I grew up with snow as my winter companion, more dependable than the Nuggets defense and tougher to negotiate than the last tortilla.
Blizzards nearly ruined one Halloween when I was a kid, another kept me from my first pro baseball game and yet another prevented my Uncle Keith from taking us to a Denver Broncos matchup against the San Diego Chargers. Uncle Keith still wanted to go.
Uncle Keith: Hey, we’re going to the Broncos game anyway.
Aunt Sandy: The hell you are!
With all this heartbreak and setback associated with the white stuff, you might wonder why I’d want some more of it in my life now. You’d think the one kid from Colorado who can’t play nice with a snow-slope tow-rope wouldn’t mind Carolina’s sunny Christmases.
I want my kids to have snow memories, too, like we did. Football games on an icy street, imitating our NFL heroes on a frozen tundra. Hot cocoa and warm pajamas after playtime in the snow. The way only a roaring fire can warm you after a snowstorm practice.
On that rare Carolina snow day, if you stop to use the loo before you play in the snow, you might miss it.
Sleep in, and another kid will track up your meager half-inch of powder before you can wipe the sleep out of your eyes, and you’ll be left with that muddy near-snow that does nothing for sledding and everything for Tide with Bleach.
I told Grace I wanted snow days so we could feel our fingers get numb and our noses run clear, then come in for hot cocoa, a hot shower and the comfiest sweatpants after a full day of play.
I want her to remember those days.
“I do, dad,” she said.
“Remember, when we made snow angels, and you’d pick us up out of the snow so our feet and our hands wouldn’t mess up our angels?”
I’d almost forgotten, I’m so busy complaining.
We might not have the snow days as MIchiganders. Maybe the snowfall totals here aren’t what you’d get in Maine or Massachusetts or Nova Scotia.
But when we get the chance of snow here in Carolina, we’ll be sure to have plenty of milk and bread.
We’ll be sure to get to the hill first.
We’ll be sure to stay home from work if school is cancelled, because, of course.
I wouldn’t really hit that wayward meteorologist with a pair of tomatoes.
But I’d heave a mean snowball at him.