Snow brings back memories

Published 9:19 pm Monday, December 27, 2010

OK, OK; I take back what I said back in July about wishing for winter.

It happens every year. In the throes of summer, when the mercury is about to burst through the top of the thermometer and I feel as though I’m in Dante’s inferno and am left only to wonder what circle of Hell my misdeeds have taken me to, I always say, “I can’t wait for winter.”

Invariably, I immediately regret saying it.

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And then, on days like today, I regret saying it even more.

Having lived my entire life in Hampton Roads, I’m a stranger to seeing snow that’s more than a few flurries. On Sunday, I walked outside at my Norfolk apartment and gazed in wonder at more than a foot of snow that was piled on top of my neighbor’s Jeep.

I am, however, relatively good at driving in snow. My mother, an Ohio native, will tell anyone that this quality of mine is attributable to her being my driving teacher.

There have been a few memorable snowstorms. The one that’s currently on the ground, as well as the one that hit near the end of January last year, are certainly the most recent.

The last time I can remember having anywhere near this much snow was the winter of 1999-2000. I remember having a snow day and still having to wake up early to help my mother dig her car out to get to work. After what seemed like two hours of shoveling and using newspaper for traction, that magical moment finally came when I pressed the gas and, instead of spinning tires, the car moved away from the curb and into the ruts already created by our neighbors on their way to work.

The other memorable winter storm in my memory brought not snow, but ice. And lots of it. It was in the early ‘90s, and the storm coated absolutely everything with several inches of ice. The power at my grandmother’s house went out, so she came to stay with us. Of course, I thought it was just a huge sleepover party, so I was thrilled. My grandmother and I went outside, chopped blocks of ice out of the sheet coating the backyard, and threw them against the swingset to watch them break.

I guess even in Virginia, it’s possible to have good memories of winter storms. And they’re certainly more exciting than the oppressive summer heat.

Maybe I don’t regret wishing for winter to come, after all.