Because I grew up in Eastern North Carolina, I have very little experience with snow storms. In fact, when I was a child I thought it only snowed at night. This was because I had experienced only two big snows both of which I discovered early in the morning. I can remember the depth of the first snow because there was a 21⁄2 gallon bucket in the yard and the snow came up to the top of it. I can also remember having my first snow cream, which my mom made that year.
In high school I lived a little further west and we did have a few more snowfalls, but not very deep ones. I can recall one time when we were out of school because of a light snow. Some students who had moved from up north could not understand why we would be out of school for that small amount of snow.
During my college years we did have some big snows. When I was a senior, it snowed every Wednesday in March — very unusual for that time of the year, as well as that part of the country. I even had to learn how to drive in such weather, which I must admit I did not learn very well.
One Thanksgiving day, my husband and I came here to visit family and it was 60 degrees with no hint of snow in sight. By Sunday morning, however, it was snowing very hard. We started our trip back to Virginia with very little visibility.
The Tennessee snows that I experienced for several years after moving here were spectacular. I can recall once when the snow was so deep that my husband helped some neighbors get home by riding them on the front-end loader on his tractor. Traveling the regular roads and feeding livestock were both difficult to do.
Our family has had some unusual experiences driving in the snow. One of the most memorable was on Christmas Day in the mid-1970s. After lunch with our family here, we loaded up the car and started out for North Carolina to visit the other grandparents. It was flurrying just a bit here, but when we got to Boone it was really coming down. Cars were sliding, and it was scary. We did not think we could make it down the mountain, so we stopped at the Deep Gap Motel. They did not expect any visitors at that time of evening and had not turned on the heat in the rooms.
We took a room anyway because it really was our only choice. We put on many layers of clothing and snuggled down for the night. About 2 or 3 in the morning, the heat came on full blast and we had to shed several layers before getting back to sleep.
Getting out of school for snow was a treat for the children, as well as those of us who were teachers. In 1977 we only went to school three days in the month of January. Making up the days was not as much fun as having them off.
A snowfall is a beautiful thing and it is very helpful because of the amount of moisture it gives to the ground. It can also be dangerous and destructive.
The best rule of thumb is to stay in and be prepared in the case of an emergency.
We do not know what the rest of the winter will be like, but I am ready to say, “Let it snow. Let it snow. Let it snow!”
Bonnie Simmerman of Jonesborough is a retired elementary school teacher.