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!