Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

What is the world coming to?!  Global warming?  The polar ice caps are melting?  I don’t know, but I’ll bet Al Gore has an explanation.  It was 50 degrees in Connecticut last weekend, but it snowed in Atlanta.  You heard me.  It snowed in Atlanta.  In fact, it snowed here for three consecutive days.  Nope…I take that back.  Make that four consecutive snow days for Atlanta because it’s snowing again today…right this very minute.  Did you get that?  IT’S SNOWING AGAIN TODAY!  That has to be some kind of record.  It snowed on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and some more today.  Really!  Ask anyone.  Okay.  So nothing accumulated, and it’s been anemic at best, but catching a glimpse of even the tiniest of snow flakes floating gracefully through the air makes me giddy!  (Speaking of giddy, CHRISTIAN WILL BE HOME FROM COLLEGE IN JUST A FEW HOURS!)

I get giddy over snow, and it’s not because it stirs up memories of my childhood winters in Connecticut.  No, no.  It’s because snow whips southern folks into a frenzy and it’s fun for transplants like me to watch.  The minute Glenn Burns (one of our local weather personalities…FYI they’re not weather men anymore…sheesh) even hints at dropping the “S” bomb, Atlantans (and I can only assume this is true for all southerners) rush out and buy up all the toilet paper, bottled water, milk, and bread from every grocery store in the entire metropolitan area and surrounding counties.  I swear it’s true.  And another thing.  Native Atlantans think snow flurries call for umbrellas.  Now any self-respecting Yankee knows that you do not, I repeat YOU DO NOT, use an umbrella when it is snowing.  No, no, no.  When it is snowing, you drop your head back as far as it will go, look up toward the heavens, open your mouth and catch snow flakes on your tongue.  Please do not attempt to argue with me about this.  That is what you do when it snows, and it cannot be done if you are holding an umbrella up over your head.  It’s not proper snow protocol.  I mean the whole point of walking around outside in the snow is to let it land on you for Pete’s sake.  Plus, it’s just plain weird to see people walking around outside in the snow with umbrellas hoisted up over their heads.  And how about those people, caught without snow boots or galoshes, who wrap their shoes in plastic grocery bags and think they can walk around in the snow?  Do they know how ridiculous they look?  Umbrellas overhead, plastic bags for shoes, carrying sacks full of toilet paper and bottled water?

As if southerners walking around in the snow isn’t insane enough, you should see what happens when they get behind the wheel of a car after a good dusting of the white stuff.  Good heavens.  It’s sliding and skidding and spinning and car after car, having bumped into one thing or another, pulled off to the side of the road every ten yards for miles on end.  I’ll tell you what.  Southerners just need to stay put when it snows.  Start a fire in the fireplace, people.  Pop some popcorn and drink some cocoa.  Please.  It’s like the song says, “Oh the weather outside is frightful and the fire is so delightful.  Since we’ve no place to go.  Let it snow!  Let it snow!  Let it snow!”

Merry Christmas to all and to all a…  Good night.  Sleep tight.


Riding Shotgun

I remember when I learned to drive.  My father gave me my first lesson:  How to Start the Engine.  He was a big believer in baby steps.  The car was parked in the driveway and in we hopped.  I was in the driver’s seat for the first time and my dad, of course, was riding shotgun.

“Today you’re just going to start the car and then you’ll back up a little bit and pull forward a little bit.  Back and forth, right here in the driveway and that’s it.  Okay.  Go ahead and start the car.”

“Where’s the button?”

“What button?”

“You know, the on button.”

“There is no on button.  Put the key into the ignition and turn it.”

I did as I was told, the motor started and I started screaming at the top of my lungs.

“WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU?  WHY ARE YOU SCREAMING?” my dad bellowed over my shrieking.


“How did you expect it to start?  Never mind.  We’re done for today.  Shut the engine.”

That was my first lesson.  It took my poor father a good while to muster up the courage to get back into the car with me, but eventually he did.  There we were again, parked in the driveway with me in the driver’s seat and dad riding shotgun.  I readied myself for lesson number two, checked the mirrors and adjusted the seat.

“Do you remember how to start the car?”


“Okay.  Get comfortable and go ahead and start ‘er up…and no screaming or we’re done.”

“Okay.”  I started the car without incident.

“Very good.  Now, put your foot on the brake and shift the car into reverse.  Look in the rear-view mirror, and turn and glance behind you to make sure the way is clear.”

I did as I was told.

“Good.  Now ease off the brake and gently press the gas pedal.  Good.  Good.  Now stop.”  And of course I slammed on the brake and we jerked to a stop.

“Okay.  Not bad, but you don’t need to slam on the brakes, just tap it.”  And it was at this point that my dad looked at me and noticed I was sitting with my left knee up by my ear, my foot resting on the dashboard.


“What?  You said to get comfortable.”

“That’s it.  We’re done.”

At that rate it was a miracle I ever learned to drive, but I did.  Fast forward 30 or so years.   My youngest son, Jared, my baby is learning to drive and now I am the one riding shotgun.  Although there are times I wish I could grab the wheel and take over as we make our way about town, I cannot.   My job in riding shotgun is to prepare Jared so that when the day comes for him to hit the road alone, he will be ready.  It’s not easy riding shotgun, especially when you’ve been in the driver’s seat every minute of every day for the better part of your baby’s life.  It’s not easy when you’re used to charting the course and leading the way.  It’s not easy riding shotgun.

The principal of my son’s high school gave this advice to us, parents of freshman, early in the school year.  “Your job,” he said, “is not to prepare the road ahead for your children, but to prepare your children for the road ahead.”  It isn’t easy, but I will suppress my urge to grab the wheel, to steer the course.  It’s hard to imagine my driving days are over, but I am thankful because at least for now, I’m still riding shotgun.

Till tomorrow…Good night.  Sleep tight.