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The Saturday Journal: Snowy Days

My Grandma Lackey was a saver–a hoarder to some extent. She saved because at one time she had little to nothing. And she went through hard times dealing with rations--supplies such as sugar and flour and gasoline. After she passed away we found sets of brand new bed sheets–still in their packages. We discovered beautiful embroidered pillowcases she sewed as a young bride. And in her kitchen cabinets–if there wasn’t one aluminum pie pan, there were a hundred. Styrofoam containers and plastic bread bags and rubber bands filled drawers.  She saved all of these for a reason–she might have need of them one day. 


It seems the whole world changes at the mention of snow in the forecast.  From the anxious anticipation of the sacred announcement “School is closed” to the mandatory trip to the grocery store for the milk and bread run.  



Snowy days were a little different for me as a child.  We never went to the store for last minute groceries. We always had a little food stocked in the cabinets and the freezer–garden food rather than a bag of Lays or a box of Pop-Tarts.  And if we really needed anything from the neighborhood store, my Daddy would use the 4-wheel drive or walk to the store--that is, if he was home.  Snow days never stopped Daddy and Mama from making their twenty-minute drive into town. Their factory jobs required them to be there–from seven in the morning to 3:30 in the afternoon–five days a week.  



Me and my brothers–we would spend snow days with our Grandma and Grandpa. They lived just up the road.  


Now my Grandma, she was a worrier too.  Especially about us kids.  I guess in some ways, my brothers and I contributed to this--her being a worrier.  We could get into some mischief from time to time. Trips to the ER for stitches–among other things.  



On snowy days, she had rules.  And there was no breaking these rules.  We could not–absolutely could not make snow cream from the first snow of the season.  It was dirty, she said.  The first snow always cleans the air, she said.  But come the second snow of the season--a bowl of fresh snow, add a little sugar and milk, with a dash of vanilla flavoring! The best!!


There were other rules when it came to making and eating snow cream. We could only have one bowl. My Grandma said it would for certain give us a sore throat if we ate too much. And the last rule--and it was a strict one. My brothers and I weren’t allowed to gather the snow for the snow cream.  My Grandma did that. She had a special place, she said. A place where she knew no dog had peed on the snow.  



And on snowy days we had a time limit on how long we could stay outside.  She couldn’t have us getting sick–not on her watch.  We had to be properly dressed too. Our heads covered with a thick toboggan and most importantly, our hands and feet were never to get wet. Now, my brothers and I didn’t have any fancy ski bibs, snow boots, or insulated snow clothes. However my Grandma made do with what she had.


In her kitchen was this one drawer filled with empty bread bags.  And my Grandma would take old socks–sometimes two socks at a time and slide them over each of our hands making gloves up to our elbows.  Then she would take those “Sandra, Little Miss Sunbeam” bread bags and cover our hands–securing the rubber band on the bag high on our arm so our hands would stay dry. She did the same for our feet.  Two pairs of socks, our shoes, and then the final layer--the bread bags.  Sometimes it was hard to tell which was louder--the rhythm of our feet crunching the snow covered ground or the sound of the plastic bread bags swaying with each step.


And we played! We took turns sharing the old wooden sled--sliding down what we called "holler hill' in my grandparents' backyard. We had snowball fights and we built the most stylish of snowmen.  And more times than not–my Grandma was there in the midst of us–supervising. Her shoes and hands covered like ours.



And on another snowy day...


I believe every child has one “special teacher–a most loved teacher”, especially during their elementary school days.  I had one--Mrs. Rosalee Prevette, my third grade teacher. And I could write chapters of her kindness–her lessons–her laughter.  She left me with so many special memories, but there was this one and it was on a snowy day.  It was a day when the clouds of heaven opened up and the biggest of snowflakes began falling–right there in the middle of our school day.  Now, before our principal had a chance to come over the intercom and tell us we would be dismissing early–Mrs. Prevette yelled, 'Get your coats and hats on. We are going outside!' 


And we made our way outside and gathered in a tight circle. Mrs. Prevette took off her coat and spread it across her arms and soon that black wool coat was covered with what looked like magic ice crystals.  Come closer–look closer, she said. That was the day we learned each snowflake was different–that God made each snowflake like He created us.  Beautiful and unique.  And she smiled as the snowflakes continued to fall clinging to her short strawberry-tinted curls.  


I’ll have to admit I’ve been a little envious these past few days–seeing snow only in photographs. I’m still that kid at heart wanting snow–waking up in the middle of the night--running to the window--could it finally be snowing? For real? And maybe some day soon. But for now I will wait and linger in the happy memories of a time when two special women in my life shared with me the wonder found in snowy days.  


 

A humble and heartfelt thank you for reading.

If you would like to have The Saturday Journal  and Stories from the Mouse's Hole come to your email box, please subscribe to A Beautiful Grace blog and newsletter at http://www.tathelmiller.com


All photos @copyright Tathel Miller, unless otherwise credited to another photographer.






3 comments

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You tell your stories so beautifully. My grandma Hendrix was much the same and my snow days very similar. 😊. And Aunt Rosalee was so special. She had a column in the journal patriot for a while as well. God bless you Tathel. Keep sharing your stories.

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Just beautiful

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Oh Tathel, you have done it again. Your beautiful story has brought beautiful memories and yes a few tears. The stories go straight to my heart and restore thoughts from long ago. I do hope you combine these into a book.

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