The Snow Did Return

By Joe Rector

It snowed. I’d about decided that we humans had screwed up the environment so much that snow would never fall on East Tennessee again. I’m glad to see I was wrong.

At our house, I took my tape measure and stuck it in the white stuff Monday evening. It hit the ground about ten inches down, and the snow increased its intensity as it fell from the cloudy sky. I wondered if the area was in for another 1993 event.

No one should think that I’ve changed my mind and now love the stuff. The feeling of being trapped still brings on anxiety. Years ago, I was afraid of running out of smokes, but quitting that habit has erased that fear. Boredom also sets in quickly when the only thing to do is watch television or read something. The frigid temperatures keep me from any project outside, and working on mowers or woodworking projects isn’t comfortable in our unfinished basement.

I don’t worry about bread, milk, and eggs, so neither Amy nor I made a mad dash to the store. If our children were still little and at home, things might have been more alarming. Instead, we can eat the items we already have in the house.

I recalled the snow days we had when Lacey and Dallas were young. He even called me before the snow began and asked if I would pull him down our icy road on the giant coal scoop my older brother once used to fill the coal furnace at home. I laughed as I thought of pulling a son larger than I am on that shovel.

During my teaching years, I was caught at school on one occasion when the snow hit suddenly. Buses began running routes, but the roads quickly became treacherous. The drivers stopped at the high school and dumped the elementary and middle school students. The youngest were terrified to be in a place where they’d never been before. I finally made it home at 10:00 p.m. when the last student was taken home by volunteers with four-wheel drive vehicles.

During graduate school, the most remembered ice storm hit. I was in night class, and by the time the professor dismissed us, driving on the roads was impossible. Until 3:00 p.m. the next day, I wandered between the building in which the class was held, the Krystal, and the motel behind it. Even driving out of the parking lot proved difficult with a thin coat of ice covering the asphalt. Another hour and a half was spent navigating the roads home as I dodged abandoned and wrecked vehicles and crept across black ice.

My plan was to stay inside and watch the snow come down. My dog Sadie had different plans. At least half a dozen times, she barked and barked until I took her outside. Since the day we rescued her, the dog has loved the snow. She turns into a pup and runs, jumps, and plays. Sadie plunges her entire head into the deep snow and sniffs for only God knows what before scooping a mouthful of snow to chomp on. Finding a place to take care of business was difficult for her. The dog hates for the wet ground or deep snow to touch her bottom as she relieves herself.

Once inside, wiping the ice and moisture from her feet, legs, and belly takes a few minutes. Then she’s ready for a treat and a long nap, after which she goes through the same routine. On a couple of occasions, her quick sprinting almost dumped me into the snow. Those times outside with her reminded me of dealing with my own children when they were toddlers. The big difference was my age and ability to control a muscle-bound mutt. Still, I love the dog as if she were one of my children, and her spoiled acts are my fault. Besides, walking around in the deep snow was fun and brought back plenty of good memories.

The snow has ended, but a deep freeze is predicted for tonight. I’m ready for the sun to come out and clear the roads so that I can get on with my life. Yes, I liked “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening,” but now the things I want and need to do are calling me back.