Winter has come to the sunny south and with it the first snow/ice storm of the season. Yep, it’s time to crash the grocery store and stock up on staples, including bread and milk. As a lifetime resident of the south, I’m well aware of the mocking that ensues from northern transplants when they witness the mobs at the grocery store. “Look at those idiots,” they say. “They act like the world is ending. And what are they going to do with all that bread and milk, anyway?”
The answer to that question is french toast. Duh. It’s the classic southern snow food. Easy to make, warm, and comforting, it’s something that most of us don’t have time to make on hurried-up mornings. It’s a snow day luxury. Growing up, I didn’t even have to get out of bed and hear the announcement to know when school was closed. If I woke up in the morning and smelled french toast, I knew it was a snow day.
As for why we crash the grocery store as if the world is ending… We know something most of the transplants don’t know, or at least refuse to acknowledge. Our snow almost never falls as pure snow. There’s almost always ice involved. While the transplants complain about how everything shuts down here and assert that they can drive on snow, we who are from here know better. You can’t drive on ice. We know and embrace the nature-enforced limitations. We’d rather prepare to wait it out than try to prove our snow driving cred. Death and property damage take a lot of the fun out of winter weather.
There’s joy in our preparations, too. Snow happens so infrequently here that it’s a treat when it does. We get excited like little kids at the thought of snow. While the snow-weary transplants are grousing that they didn’t move here for this, we’re jumping for joy. We’re looking at each other in the grocery aisles and smiling. We’re chatting up the cashiers and talking preparations with the neighbors. It’s a bonding experience.
Around here, snow means that the world shuts down. It’s a quiet, peaceful time. We know we can’t go anywhere so the pressure is off. There are no errands to run and most schools and workplaces close so you might as well just chill out and enjoy it guilt-free. Watch a movie, play some games, read a book, or go outside for a walk.
Railing against the weather won’t change it. Complaining about the inefficiencies of our snow removal system won’t clear the roads any faster. Mocking those who embrace the joy of a couple of days of peace just makes you look like a snow Grinch and a stressed-out jerk. There is nothing that can’t wait and nothing of such importance that it’s worth killing yourself over out on the roads. We know this, which is why we simply hunker down and wait it out.
My advice to the transplants is to slow down with the rest of us. Look around, enjoy it. Instead of complaining and mocking, try joining in the fun. The southern sun will take care of the snow soon enough, probably by tomorrow. In the meantime, try appreciating the peace and slower pace of a snow day. You can spare one day; it won’t kill you. Oh, and make some french toast.
(Photo courtesy of writerchick)