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Simply Lou: Just a Little Snow Please

By Katie Sloan
In Simply Lou
Jan 8th, 2018

Article and illustration by Lou Davenport

Last week, my daughter, Carolyn, called me saying, “Adam is getting snow!”  Well, yes, we were both jealous!  Adam lives in Taylor, Texas.  He just doesn’t get excited about snow like we do, so I called him.  He said it wasn’t snowing there.  I figured Carolyn just misunderstood the weather report.

About fifteen minutes later, Adam called back, announcing it was snowing there, and it was sticking!  He WAS excited!  So, of course, all of us got excited, too, and I turned the WeatherChannel on!

Hmmm.  Looked like EVERYONE in the South was going to get snow but us.  And, we didn’t.  Not a flake.  The weather radar showed “green” on us, and I don’t think it even drizzled at my house!  Vicksburg was wrapped up in about five or six inches.  It snowed in Baton Rouge and New Orleans!  When I lived in Vicksburg, Monroe got the snow, and we got ice storms.   Given that Vicksburg is sitting on a bluff with huge hills and valleys, ice storms are particularly treacherous.  There’s lots of bridges and huge trees that ice can cover in no time at all.  Then, the trouble starts.  It’s a really bad storm, when the I-20 Bridge across the Mississippi River is closed.  Everything comes to a stand still.  I still get all tensed up just writing “ice storm.”

I wrote the following and posted on my Simply Lou Facebook page last year.  It’s still relevant and once again, it’s a true story.  Just the facts ma’am, just the facts.

I love Darren Knight’s “Southern Mama” and I’ll be the first to say, “he knows us well!”  In one particular video, “Mama” is all “wigged out” over what may or may not be snowfall moving into the area.  “Mama” is desperately trying to get to the store for bread and milk, etc. “before they run out!”   I could so identify with that video!  I started thinking about the reason we Southerners freak out when even the mention of snow is on our weather report.  So, I offer this…

Let’s just say that snow isn’t the problem.  It’s the ICE!  WE DON’T LIKE ICE!  WE DON’T WANT ICE! The mere mention of “ice” gets me really anxious. Snow is fine, just please, no “ice!”

Many years ago, when I lived in Vicksburg, I “survived” at least three ice storms.  ALL were horrible!  No power, trees and tree limbs down everywhere, and it was so cold.  Down here, we have that high humidity cold….it’s different than “dry cold.” But, cold is cold to me. COLD in the South is brutal.  Maybe we are spoiled, but  I do NOT care!  COLD IS COLD!

The last ice storm was the worst. It came out of nowhere, as they most often do, so I was not prepared.  Are we ever? Larry had passed away, Adam and Carolyn were both living in Monroe then. Just Paige and I were still there.

We woke up to a “winter wonderland,” and it was pretty…..for an hour or so.  Then, the power was gone. It’s one thing to lose power in one of these things, but, IF a big limb rips off your electrical box, you are “up the creek.”  This was the worst time of year for this to happen, because not only are you at the mercy of Entergy, you are now at the mercy of an electrician – if you can FIND ONE!  Calling Entergy doesn’t help either. You’ll just hear a recording.  So, I had to start searching for an electrician.  Entergy will not come, if the electrician hasn’t fixed the box and approved it! I can understand that, but it sure wasn’t helping Paige and me stay warm!

And, to make matters even worse, you cannot leave your house!  Entergy may show up at any moment, and you HAVE to be there.  You find yourself on the “low priority” list and they’ll get to you whenever they get to you.  So, we were trapped.

Staying warm is one thing, but listening to the wind blow those big, ice covered trees and big limbs is spooky.  You can hear them cracking and crashing when the ice gets too heavy.  And, it just seems to go on and on.  The nights are the scariest.  You can’t see what just fell on what.  And you pray that the big trees around your house stay strong and not fall on YOU!

Days went by, and I was still trying to find an electrician. This was at the height of deer season. Most were out of town hunting. One was even at his deer camp drunk. BUT finally, on day four, I found one. He couldn’t make it that day but promised he would be there the next. He got there, and it took about 15 minutes for him to fix the damn thing.

By then, everyone in our neighborhood had been ENJOYING their power for days! Yes, I cussed them all, wouldn’t you?  We were lucky that our house had a fireplace.  Luckily, we had some cans of soup and a lot of junk food.  But, we ran out of wood.  So….I had to go steal some.  I did it, too.  When you are cold, hungry and hadn’t had a shower in many days, you’ll do what “ya gotta do!”

More days went by. Seven days, an entire week! I think I snapped. Really snapped. I had heard that Entergy had set up a small headquarters not far from us. All the “out of town” guys who had come to help out were sent to these places. I got in my car, and I went searching. (The streets were all thawed and clear by now.)

This “ice storm traumatized Southern Mama” was NOT a very pleasant sight to see. I had on about 5 different layers of various warm clothes and a red satin, fleece lined Victoria’s Secret robe.  Yeah, I was sexy!  A week without real coffee, real food, heat, lights, and NO HOT WATER….YOU GET THE PICTURE?  But I found them and I think I may have “traumatized” them! (I know it was the robe!)

At least 10 trucks were there…parked….doing nothing…. I pulled in and stormed in there. They had FOOD EVERYWHERE! It was warm, well lit and they were just sitting on their butts having a great time. They had a TV on and music playing.  Some were playing cards.  Well, I ruined that for them.  I think I scared them!  I announced LOUDLY that “one of y’all are going to come cut my power on RIGHT NOW!” NOW! DO YOU HEAR ME?” (spoken like a true Southern Mama!)

I wanted off the “low priority list,” and I wanted it RIGHT THEN!  Come on Entergy…LIGHT MY FIRE!

Men started scrambling around saying, “YES, MA’AM…WHERE DO YOU NEED US TO GO?”  I snarled,  “FOLLOW ME!” And five of them did in TWO TRUCKS! It took them five minutes to power up my house.  I didn’t know whether to cuss them or kiss them, so I just started crying.  It was finally over!  I think I did say, “Thank You,” in a somewhat subdued voice, but I didn’t feel guilty one bit about actin’ a fool!  THEY hadn’t been without power for over a week. Paige and I HAD!

Well, finally a happy ending…HOT SHOWERS! HOT REAL COFFEE! We warmed up, well, thawed out really.  Made ourselves presentable (only had to wear one layer of clothes and our coats!) and headed to Cracker Barrel, where we stuffed ourselves with HOT food!  The next day we faced the freezer and refrigerator full of spoiled food.  We cleaned up outside as best we could and got on with life.

SO….say what you want about us Southerners getting anxious at the mere mention of snow.  We’re just worrying about ICE! We know we aren’t prepared, but how can we be?  We know that in no time the temperature may be 70 degrees! We have Bipolar Weather….We just “do what we gotta do!”

If  I hear of an ice storm coming here to Monroe, my “cat brats and I” will be “outta here!”  I think I’ve done my time with those ice storms. Now, SNOW….that’s a whole other “thang.”  Just a little.  Just a little.

MERRY NEW YEAR everybody!! May 2018 be one of endless possibilities for us all! (And again, no ice storms!)