in East Texas is only
slightly less rare than a parade of CNN reporters wearing red "Make
America Great Again" caps while singing "You Can't Always Get What
You Want" in downtown Pyongyang. This year, though, the impossible
happened, and East
Texas was blanketed with a couple
of inches of powder-only this time, it wasn't the usual dunes of yellow
pollen from a bunch of turned on pine trees that need to get a room.
For those unfamiliar with the experience of a snow day in the South,
I offer a brief primer on the subject that will surely invoke such
rigorous eye-rolling from readers north of Texarkana that they may
blow a gasket in their optic nerves.
Step 1-Go to Walmart.
As soon as word gets out that there's even a snowball's chance (see
what I did there?) that wintry precipitation might fall, East Texans
ransack Walmart like survivalists preparing for an icy Armageddon
that'll deprive the earth of Wolf Chili and Wonder Bread. (I won't
even mention what we do to the Velveeta section.)
Step 2-Play the waiting game.
With little noses pressed up against windows anticipating the first
falling flakes (and kids pestering parents for their turn to look),
the waiting game begins, specifically waiting to see whether schools
and workplaces will be closed, or superintendents and supervisors
will be burned in effigy. This year, just as my daughters were lighting
their torches, we were notified late in the evening that all of Texas
(even Austin) would be closed
until further notice.
Step 3-Engage in unbridled celebration.
News of a southern snow day often triggers an eruption of joy that
may result in shattered eardrums and traumatized pets. After a riotous
spectacle of cartwheels and spastic happy dances, my daughters finally
got my wife and me to settle down, and we went to bed, looking forward
to the winter wonderland we would witness the next afternoon when
we finally got up.
Step 4-Take an obligatory snow day photo of the house.
When East Texans awaken to a snowy landscape, it's important to run
out and take a rare photo of the house and unspoiled yard before the
neighbor's dogs (and children) come over to deface it with graffiti
written in Times New Urine font. Friends and extended family can expect
to view this photo numerous times on Christmas cards throughout the
Step 5-Have a snowball fight.
It's also popular to have a playful snowball fight-until somebody
starts crying (usually one of the parents). Our snowball fight came
to an abrupt end this year when I inadvertently pelted my youngest
and most sensitive daughter dead in the face, prompting a few quiet
tears from her and feelings of unrestrained self-loathing from me.
If I'd actually been aiming for her face, I would've, no doubt, hit
myself in the back of the head. In fact, in my little league baseball
career, I was given the chance to throw exactly one pitch-and they
still haven't found the ball.
Step 6-Build a snowman to change the subject.
we don't get much practice building snowmen, so the results can be
humorous (and potentially disturbing). Because the layer of snow is
usually thin, our snowmen can be a little dirty and grassy, and they
often wind up looking like geriatric Wookiees in need of extensive
Step 7-Go inside because your rear is wet.
If we're outside long enough, it's inevitable that those of us who
don't own polar attire and, instead, wear every pair of sweatpants
we own (at once), will sit down and discover that East
Texas snow is molecularly
designed to transform immediately to liquid when it comes into contact
with the human buttock. As uncomfortable as this is, it does present
the opportunity to herd everyone back to the great indoors with warnings
about frostbitten hineys and possible amputation.
Step 8-Make a snow day treat.
Once inside, the family can enjoy the bounty of nature in the form
of snow ice cream. Below is my own famous recipe:
4 cups (white) snow
1 cup milk
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
4 large scoops of Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
Mix first four ingredients, and feed to children and pets.
Quickly eat the fifth ingredient yourself.
Step 9-There is no step nine.
The snow has melted by now. Turn the A/C back on and go to Walmart
for more Velveeta.
© Jase Graves
"Quips and Salsa" February
15 , 2018 column