Snow brings up many thoughts, some are true and some are definitely false. Southerners cannot drive in snow. I've met plenty of northerners incapable of driving in snow, or at the very least, unable to drive safely in snow. All of the milk and bread disappear from stores in the South with the threat of a dusting. That is definitely a true statement. I would love to know when this started and why milk and bread? There are snow plows and salt for the roads up North. Good old fashioned sunshine and warmer days are required to melt snow and ice in the South.
Birmingham, Alabama experienced the 1993 Storm of the Century in March of that year. An incredible 13 inches of snow fell on the city and crippled life in the area. Suffice it to say that everyone had milk and bread, but we had to hunker down and wait for a meltdown that would take days. An estimated 40% of the U.S. was affected by the storm.
My husband Paul and I had been dating for almost a year. He lived in a very nice apartment complex south of town, probably the most desirable location at the time. I lived a student's life in a studio apartment on the southwest side of the city.
Paul called and let me know that he was going with a group of guys, since they had no electricity and therefore no heat, over to Pat's house. I was surprised that Pat had heat. His house was in the same general area as Paul's apartment, where the power was out. Paul reassured me to not worry. A group of guys from up North were going over to take advantage of Pat's heat, since he had gas.
If you are from up North, this may sound reasonable. If you're a Southerner, then you know that gas heat has an ELECTRIC blower! I filled Paul in, before he left, to the fact that Pat would not have heat. Boy did he laugh! "Who would EVER put an ELECTRIC BLOWER in with GAS HEAT?"
It was all of his laughter that led me to not explain further. "Well, enjoy yourselves," was my only reply. There was no need to argue with a man that was so smart and well informed.
Later that afternoon Paul called to let me know that, oddly enough, Pat's house didn't have heat. They were all wrapped in blankets and huddling in one room. "Really?" I quipped. It turned out that his gas heat had an electric blower. Who knew??!!
Days passed and the cold Yankees continued to await power. Funny enough, I was never without power. I have never enjoyed heat and a hot shower more.
After a few day it came time for Paul to travel with work. He asked if he could stop by on the way to the airport and take a shower. He had not been able to shower for four days, if memory serves me correctly. "Sure," I responded.
He arrived a good while later. He had taken the interstate. With all of the snow, travel was slow. The delay was not the traffic, there hadn't been any traffic. When he told me about the police officer that had been on the road with him, who was traveling to an emergency of some sort but then wiped out on the side of the interstate, it hit me. Paul was unaware of another point that comes with a snow storm in the South. THE INTERSTATES ARE CLOSED! I explained to him that the officer wasn't heading to an emergency, he was after Paul and trying to pull him over because the road was closed.
It turns out that we are all accustomed to managing sever weather and dangers that are particular to the areas where we've lived or been raised. We are not educated as to the hazards of new areas. As travelers, we should be mindful of this fact, and read warnings carefully.
For those who visit this area, red flags mean STAY OUT OF THE WATER! It is red because of rip currents and not simply the big waves that you think you can manage. Also note, sand is deep. All of the abilities of your fancy truck and SUV will be rendered useless if you park where it is marked to NOT PARK! Chances are you'll be safer if you will just stop and listen to the female in your life, especially if she's more familiar with the area. If you are all travelers, simply stop and read the signs.
Is there a sign that you missed while traveling? Share your story!
Humor in Sadness
I've often had the thought that humor and sadness must be closely located in the brain. Sure, I could Google it and find out for sure, but what's the fun in that? I explore this idea a little in my book as laughter becomes part of my mother's funeral.
Here's another point of funny, not funny, so "why am I laughing?" moments. Things that should be sad, and only sad, until you break out in laughter. The moral is: it is always best to find the funny side of life. You can still make a difference, remove the sadness, and move forward, with a smile!
Focus in the U.S. to save the oceans has turned to straws. It must be working because I haven't found a straw in ages, actually I haven't picked up much garbage at all this year! Last year I couldn't take a walk without a bag to gather many items that were carelessly left behind. This year, my husband's pockets have sufficed, and they even come back empty more times than not.
Straws are definitely on the decline. I tend to find more beer bottle caps and cigarette butts than anything. There is even a local artist, Shelly Marshall, who made a sea turtle out of the cigarette butts that were picked up by a group of volunteers in ONE HOUR of beach clean-up.
So what could possibly be funny about littering? Decide for yourself.
At first I thought that this said, "Life is a Beach." Which would have been funny. Peach, ok, not so funny. So try this one:
Crud. Again, not really funny. Dogs are only allowed on the beach in particular areas. Should I mention here the man and his wife who walked on the public NON-DOG beach on Saturday and let their dog do his business and covered it up as if they were building a sandcastle? No, that definitely wasn't funny. I can also comment that I've picked up many more of these plastic kid toys and juice box straws than I have just about anything else.
Our search continues though. Still litter. Still not funny.
If you're not laughing yet, don't worry. I posted this photo on Facebook, the day that I took it, and an old friend from high school asked if she could re-post. She turned it into a meme that said, "Me, at the end of a week on the beach!" Good one Patty!
It could have been great simply left there. My nephew was next to chime in. He captioned this photo "After Spring Break" edition Barbie!
Life is all about perception. You can change any moment, even litter on a beautiful beach, into something that can make you smile. Just be sure to photograph it, share the smile and recycle!
So, It Happened Like This is filled with stories. Some are unbelievable. Many of them may help you to conjure up a memory or two of your own. All of them are real. This story is not in the book, but maybe it should've been.
Some blogs will come with a photo. This one, unfortunately, will not.
Imagine a moment. You are standing in the kitchen of your home, the blinds are open over the sink. Since you're renting a home on an island, the kitchen is on what is technically the third (top) floor. It's 4:45 and your middle daughter has joined you. She's now living most of the time on her own and needs more moments like this!
We're dicing this and slicing that. Life is good. Laughter is in the air as the youngest has two friends over for a sleepover. It is an estrogen filled home, as the nearest testosterone is taking a catnap on the sofa.
Breaking into this magical moment is my daughter's voice.
"Mom, is that a butt?"
How do you answer that? No, it's a breast. We were cooking chicken.
As I'm searching to understand her, I notice that she's gazing out of the kitchen window. I approached, took a look out at the neighborhood below and BAM! There it was! An actual BUTT!
This is one of the joys of beach living - tourists! We've woken up to late night parties, a hefty game of corn hole, the joy of one visitor jumping the fence at midnight and swimming in an unoccupied rental unit's pool, but this?
Across the street is a million dollar home. MUCH nicer than my rental, but I'm certainly not complaining. This million dollar home is up on stilts, each encased nicely and trimmed out in wood. A beautiful two-story with a pool on the side. There is a deck across the front and a tiny deck, up high, with a spiral staircase to a sunning deck that must give you a bird's eye view of the Gulf of Mexico and the sound. I digress.
Underneath the house is nothing, just the well finished pillars. The only thing between those pillars and my kitchen window are a few oleanders that could use a lot more leaves.
I looked, saw nothing, until all of a sudden, a butt appeared from around one of the pillars! A young man, thankfully athletic and fit, was showering in the outdoor rinse-off-only shower and my 20 year old daughter had a front row seat! Front row of the balcony, but still!!
We watched for a few minutes, I'm not going to lie to you. Then I recalled the other three girls in the house who were 16 and 17! Time to wake my husband.
I went over to Paul, nudged him awake and asked him to please go across the street and let the naked young man who was showering there know that the home he was renting had indoor plumbing. His response? As he rolled over he said, "I'm not going over there. Call the police if you want."
Call the police? Really?
All I knew is that I wasn't going over there. I certainly wasn't sending any of the girls. Thankfully three were unaware, so far, as to what was happening. So what did I do? I went back to the window to see if he was gone. Soon enough, he was clean, toweled, and indoors. Whew, crisis averted.
The cooking lesson continued. I went to the sink to rinse a veggie or two and BAM!
"Is that another butt?" I asked.
My daughter came over and sure enough, young male #2 was showering. What in the world?! I could hardly believe my eyes (that were strangely enough unable to turn away).
The sound of laughter and play started filtering in through the back door. On the street behind me were kids on scooters at play. Minding their business in this family friendly neighborhood. Unaware of the sights that they were about to behold, if they took two left turns.
"Hello. Yes. Police? I need some help over here. I don't want to get anyone in trouble. I certainly don't want a ticket issued, butt (I mean but) there are confused visitors across the street. They are showering outside. Naked! They've also used the front fence as a latrine. Could someone please go over and let them know that the million-dollar home that they are renting has indoor plumbing?"
They assured me that an officer would be sent out. I went back to cooking. He went back to showering, not that he had stopped. Life continued.
Unfortunately he finished his shower before the police arrived. Makes it seem like a lame story. Right?
Nope! Where there are two fit young men who need a shower, there are three!
Bachelor number three assumed the position. Butt naked, exposed easily to four homes, mine being the one with the worst view. Then it happened! A huge police SUV pulled up in front of the neighbor's house. This was most likely strategic, as there was no way he could have seen the vehicle. After a few moments, the driver's door opened and out popped a LADY OFFICER!!! I don't know if that was the luck of the draw or planned, but I burst out laughing, and scorched the chicken. She calmly walked up the circular drive. He had his back to her and continued to scrub. She approached the area where there was a break in the oleanders.
At this point she is maybe 40 feet away from him. HE BENT OVER AND DECIDED TO WASH HIS ANKLES! I kid you not!
She stepped through the first set of pillars and was under the house. He was still unaware of her presence. At about the ten foot mark, she spoke.
He jumped to attention and then in a cartoon style, seemed to walk on his toes in an exit-stage-left fashion, over to the comfort of his towel.
The rest is uneventful, except to my youngest. The officer asked him to go upstairs and get dressed. She followed him up the staircase that led to the front deck and entry. She waited while he changed and he returned with someone who appeared to be his significant other. They listened to the officer. A lot of head shaking was going on. The girlfriend/fiancé/wife didn't let him have it until after the officer left and the glass front door was closed.
Moral of the story? This would be a great place for you to comment. You finish the story. What is the moral?
Kristen Alger is an author whose goal is to help you find the fun side of life. Everybody needs a little laughter or sometimes, a little sage advice!