Friday, December 18, 2009

Snow Days, Snow Cream, Sledding and Soup

They say there is a possibility of snow tonight and/or tomorrow. Here in North Carolina that is a big deal. I lived in Chicago for one winter and people didn’t “see” the snow because they were equipped to deal with it and life could go on as normal. I thought that was sad. Because here, when they call for snow, magic takes places and it’s like a gift waiting to be opened.
Praying for snow is the first prayer I can really remember outside of saying the blessing and saying my “now I lay me down to sleep” prayers as a child. Sitting in front of the t.v. while the news talked about the possibility of snow the next day and anxiously waiting to see if school would be cancelled or not. My father would wake us up during the night as soon as he saw it falling and more prayers would be sent up from an excited little girl who just wanted a chance to live in a snow globe for a bit.

Looking back now I know what made the magic of a snow day. First we have no guarantee of snow every winter so it’s like a surprise party in the making any time the weatherman mentions the word snow. It is hard to know how much snow, what kind of snow (there are different kinds you know) and how long it’s going to hang around. All surprises.

And then to look out the window and see the water falling, but it’s not rain; it’s like a kiss from a child falling on your cheek, to be treasured, like a gift.

Growing up snow days, when there was enough snow, meant sledding but we had a problem, no hills around my house, just flat land and deep ditches, but my father improvised. He got us a sled and tied it to whatever vehicle we had, sometimes it was a go-cart, or a jeep, or a truck and he would drive in circles around and around the lot in the back yard. The snow would get packed down tight and it would become almost like ice and you had to pay attention or you could get slung off into a drift. My father would spend hours with us holding on tight and laughing at our antics. He got to stop, slow down, because the world outside had stopped, and spend time with my brother, my friends and me. It was a gift.

Then we would come inside and there would be soup on the stove, homemade vegetable beef soup. Nothing tastes as good as my mom’s soup. With grilled cheese sandwiches and still dripping snow all over the warmth started in the belly and spread out to the hands and feet but the warmth in the heart as mom stood in the kitchen laughing and smiling stayed long after the snowflakes melted. I didn’t realize it at the time, but that too was a gift.

The highlight of the day came when mom would make snow cream. There are many different ways to make it and I have posted the recipe I use below. It has to be clean snow, mom would often put a pot out just for the snow for snow cream, or if the drifts were big enough Dad would get the snow from there. You want clean snow since you are going to be eating it.

1 (5 oz.) can evaporated milk
1 c. whole milk
1 egg (don't have to use it if you don't want to, make sure they are fresh)
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 c. sugar
Add enough snow to well mixed ingredients to desired consistency. Amount of snow needed depends on how "wet" the snow is. Dry, fluffy snow makes the best ice cream.
The fire in the fireplace would be burning and hot chocolate would be served WITH marshmallows (I like the mini ones best) and sometimes rice krispy treats but nothing could match the snow cream. You could have hot chocolate and rice krispy treats anytime, but magic had to happen in order to have snow cream. Another gift to be treasured.

People wonder why southerner’s freak out when there is a slightest chance of snow? They complain because we don’t know how to drive in it, or that we run out and buy all the milk and bread. It’s because we get it. We know what a gift a snow day has the potential to give. And even though I’m grown now, I still find myself praying for snow, just like I did 30+ years ago so let them laugh and make fun.

I went and got my milk and bread last night so I can make snow cream and grilled cheese sandwiches for my daughter. I need to go Christmas shopping, I need to do a thousand things, but if the first flake falls I’m hunkering down, pulling out the mini marshmallows and soup will be put on. Come on over if you don’t mind driving in it and have a bowel of soup and a sandwich, maybe we can even make snow cream. 

It’s not as much about the snow as it is about the slowing down and enjoying the gift.  Do you have a memory of a snow day that you can share?  Leave a comment! 


Anonymous said...

There's nothing better than a snow day in NC!
Several years ago, we had a snow day when Rob was on call. He had to get to the hospital, but without four wheel drive, it wasn't gonna happen. A friend with a hummer offered to take him. It may have been his favorite day on call EVER! :)

Magic happens when it snows in NC! :)

Renee Ingoe said...

I can remember many many years ago, we had a really big snow. My uncle and aunt from TEXAS were here visiting. My uncle took me and my brothers out to this abandoned road and did donuts in the snow. It was so much fun, he enjoyed it as much as us kids.

Anonymous said...

I believe it was January 1988. I was at NCSU, living off campus just on the other side of Pullen Park. My sister was living in Lee dorm, on the opposite side of campus. There were forecasts of snow just as Christmas break was coming to a close, so my mom sent us both back to college to beat the bad roads. We got so much snow, they delayed classes several days. My rental house had heat that was operated in the other apartment and those guys hadn't returned it was so cold. I hiked across campus and joined my sister and several other dorm folks and had a wonderful time in the snow. One of my fondest snow memories! Wish we could have gotten some this time around. It was beautiful watching the giant flakes fall from my view on the 18th floor in downtown Raleigh yesterday while it lasted though. The flakes float down magically.

~Kathy M.

Velvet said...

As you know I grew up in the Mountains of TN and as a child we use to get lots of Snow in the winter but I never got tired of it! Everytime it snowed was like a new and exciting gift. Like you, playing in the snow (of course I had plenty of hills to sled on :-)) eating grilled cheese and of course the famous Snow Creme are all fond Snow memories. How I miss the snow and wished we saw more. Like you, I still pray for snow too! :-)