Enjoying the ‘unusual’ in Suffolk

Published 5:58 pm Saturday, January 30, 2010

I had every intention to write about a completely different topic this weekend. There were plenty of other topics, such as the upcoming Horizons sections that begin publishing Sunday, Feb. 14, or the interesting history lesson I’ve had in working on a story for Suffolk Living.

But, nothing seems as important as the apocalyptic snow event of Saturday. Yes, apocalyptic.

For those of you who have followed my columns since I began my tenure in Suffolk, I am an Alabama native — born and raised. And, for the most part, I spent much of my life within the boundaries of that state.

Just for background information, Alabama’s average temperature for the month of January would hover – I guess – in the mid-50s. The winter season is marked with a number of heavy rains and the occasional overnight frost.

This is also the state where there is an unwritten rule amongst the media outlets that the only time you use the word “snow” in a story or headline is after the fact. The sheer panic, confusion and mass hysteria that results from the word would make it irresponsible to print it until after such snow was already on the ground.

I can count on one hand — actually two fingers — the times that I awoke to find any measurable snow on the ground waiting on me. And when I say measurable, I mean snow that you could easily distinguish on the ground or on your window.

Saturday’s wake-up call here in Suffolk was met with more than an inch of snow on the ground, and it only built from there into the awe-inspiring event that was this weekend’s weather.

I have come to understand that the frigid temperatures this area experienced a number of weeks ago and the snow this weekend are “unusual” for this area. And many have reassured me this weather is “not normal.”

I am not sure if those reassurances made me feel better — or warmer. But, they were appreciated.

As I drove around Saturday taking photos and asking questions of those who were enjoying the snow, I realized just how much fun such an event like this really is. Yes, it will be a little messy around town for a few days, but if this is truly “unusual” and “not normal,” do you really want to miss the opportunity?

I watched children take part in snowball fights, build snowmen and create the occasional snow angel. None of those activities were ever possible in south Alabama.

Now that I think about it, I may take the time today to make my own snow angel and ambush Nikki with a snowball before the snow melts away.

TIM REEVES is editor of the Suffolk News-Herald. He can be reached at 757.934.9611 or at tim.reeves@suffolknewsherald.com