Friday, December 08, 2017

The Great Blizzard of '17

Growing up in central-ish Texas, a White Christmas was never in the cards for me. A white anything was never in the cards. Television and movies insisted on lying to me, and I thought our snow-free holidays merely an troubling aberration we suffered through whilst the rest of the world had snowball fights. Every year, I asked for a sled. Santa, wisely, did not deliver on that request.

Don't think Texas is all desert and heat, thought. I'm fond of saying I tolerate August here so that I may wear shorts in January (true) it does get cold here. It freezes here, although cold spells lasting more than a week are uncommon. We get ice storms. We get frost. We get sleet. But snow? Not so much. Growing up in tiny Columbus, the only real snowfall I ever experienced came around 1973, with a big front that blew in and chilled things for the better part of a week. We got around 6" on the ground, and neighbors and friends came from all around to sled down a big hill at our house in cardboard boxes. There were snowmen, snowball fights and grainy Super 8 film footage to document the occasion. I've never experienced anything like that since. Sure, around 1976 there was a modest snowfall--maybe 1"--but not enough to make more than a tiny snowman. In 1987 during the day at high school we had a wave of sleet followed by about an hour of modest snow flurries, enough for accumulations to build up on the cars in the parking lot, prompting a snowball fight during lunch. In 1995, there was a serious ice storm in Temple, but no snow. In 2003 there was a super-cold ice storm that shut I-35 down, but no snow. The next year (of the year after) a front skipped over us and dropped a lot of snow on the coast, so the next day we took the kids to Cuero to visit my grandmother and play in the pockets of snow that survived in the shadows of buildings.

Last night, defying predictions, we experienced an honest-to-goodness snowfall. The Wife and girls had gone to Wassailfest in New Braunfels. I stayed home trying to cover my banana plants to protect them from the rapidly falling temperatures. During all this, big, puffy white flakes began falling. I called Bug out. He went nuts with excitement. To make a long story short, the snow came down so fast and so thick that it stuck. It couldn't melt fast enough. Bug made a snowman so large that he needed help lifting the pieces atop one another. Then he made a snow cat so the snowman could have a pet. He did a pretty good job, considering he started with zero experience. Not too many snowmen I've ever seen use chunks of palm tree bark for buttons and sections of bamboo for arms and nose. He challenged me to a snowball fight, then decided snowball fights weren't his thing when he learned how fast his dad could make and throw snowballs.

This morning, reality had retaken control. The roads and driveways and sidewalks and other impervious surfaces had all melted clear. The snow on the ground and in the trees had compacted and turned icy. It still looked impressive, for the most part, but wasn't much fun anymore. Still, there's something about snow on palm trees that just demands to be photographed.

Upon arriving at work this morning, I saw that the Texas State students had just as much fun on campus as we'd had at home. Snowmen--or at least their remains--abounded, as did evidence of snowball fights. And I encountered my first-ever snow angel in the wild. All in all, it was a fun 24 hours.

And despite two C9 light strands shorting out on me, I did manage to get all the banana plants wrapped and protected. So that's a win as well.

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