By Lisa Whaley

“Baby, it’s cold outside.”

As arctic air swept through Northeast Tennessee this past week, along with a promise of freezing rain Monday, I couldn’t help but look at my daughter with a bit of envy as she snuggled deeper under the covers — a beneficiary of another school snow day.

She is lucky, but at 17 and ready to graduate from high school this year, I know these snow days will soon become a thing of the past.

As adults, filled with all our responsibilities, snow and subsequent bad weather rarely means good times. We, instead, must face disrupted schedules, scary journeys on ice and busted pipes. Firefighters and first responders are required to rush to a need no matter what the adverse conditions. And police officers never get to take a day off simply because it’s too “wintery.”

Still, I don’t think we ever quite lose that idea of snow magic established in our memories when we were young.

My favorite memory involves a particularly nasty storm when I was about 13 years old. Angry gray clouds had pummeled my small town with torrents of freezing rain followed by deep snow. Limbs cracked and fell. And winds continued to blow fiercely, making temperatures even colder still.

There were four of us —  my mom, my dad, my little brother and myself — and as temperatures dropped, we decided to bundle ourselves up and head for the garage.

You see, our garage was separate from the house and had within it an old barrel stove.

We built a fire. Mom cooked a pot of beans on the top of the stove, and we told stories to pass the time. No TV. No radio. Just the warmth of each other.

This is a memory I  treasure every time the snow flies. There were, of course, many other such memories, both from when I was young and when I had young ones of my own. I hope my girls remember their stories as fondly.

But as I thought back through my “tales of winter weather,” I realized these had much more in common than dropping temperatures. Each, like the story of one winter around a barrel stove, featured family together, safe despite the storm.

My wish for all of you for this cold weather season of 2018 is a winter with family, together and safe despite the storm.