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Snowfall never fails to stir memories

By Lisa Whaley

Snow blanketed our region Sunday, spreading a magical coat of sparkling white crystals across nearby hills and heavily laden tree branches. As I looked out our living room window that morning, I couldn’t help but feel uplifted. What is it about a blanket of snow that makes all the world such a magical place?

Is it that perfect, unmarred surface, almost like a clean slate in which to begin anew? Or is it that it reaches out and touches the child within us, reminding us of former delights for which we have become much too busy? Some of my favorite memories involve stories of snowfall. When I was about five, I remember everyone bundling up to climb to the top of the tallest hill, carrying innertubes to use as sleds, while our two little black dogs danced around us in excitement. I remember one year when the power went out, and my mother whipped up a perfect meal of scrambled eggs, biscuits and gravy (don’t ask me how) on the old barrel stove in the garage as we sat around warming our hands and sharing stories.

My childhood years are scattered with such memories — sampling snow ice cream, refreshing and sweet from small ceramic cups; laughing delightedly as my usually elegant mama plopped herself down in the yard to make a snow angel; creating snow men (and women) with my little brother, as we rolled balls of snow, hunted rocks and twigs and occasionally pitched one of those balls at each other; and getting to celebrate the wonder and unpredictability of school snow days, cozy and warm at home. Even as an adult, snow days have remained magical.

Remember the big “blizzard” of ’93? It was a Friday, I think, and I was making my way to my brother’s house in Carter County, laughing to myself at all the people who were pouring into the grocery stores to stock up because it might snow. I do think they had the last laugh, as more than 15 inches poured down, closing roads, businesses and highways. We were snowed in several days with no electricity, listening to WJHL on a portable radio for glimmers of the latest news and chowing down on the soup beans and cornbread my sister-in-law was able to prepare (don’t ask me how) on the propane heater in the living room.

It’s funny. As I sit here and reminisce, I am beginning to recognize an age-old theme. Each of my warm winter memories revolve around home, hearth and family. In a world where every wish can often be granted with little effort from ourselves, it reminds me of how resourceful we really can be. More importantly, each sweet memory carries with it the recognition that when all of life’s trappings are pulled away, all that really matters is being together, sharing our resources and learning to laugh with one other.

No wonder I love snow.