Saturday, January 14, 2006

Be quiet and it will snow

A couple of weeks ago CNN ran a story about the crazy things kids do to ensure a snow day. Snow rituals, it seems, are more ubiquitous than I ever imagined. Donning special "snow-making" clothing inside out, flushing ice cubes down the john, and performing weather incantations are just some of the things kids and adults do to conjure up snow worthy of school cancellation.

In my family, my mother would use the old "Be quiet and it will snow" technique if the weather threatened the white stuff. Oh, sure, I see through it now, but it worked for a goodly number of years (meaning that maybe sometimes we got snow, but we certainly always got quiet). And don't think I was above using this little snow incantation on my own little Kate.

I remember reading the great Conrad Aiken short story "Silent Snow, Secret Snow" for freshman English in college. Of course, it really wasn't about snow (and if you haven't read it, get thee to a good short-story anthology), but because of my association of snow with silence, it resonated with me immediately. To this day, the heavy, muffled silence after a snowfall still brings the Aiken story and my mother's words to mind.

Except that we haven't had any snow in Atlanta this year. Sigh. I'll try being quiet for a while. If that doesn't work, I'm going for the ice-cube trick.

(The picture? Snow Day 1958, Chattanooga, Tennessee. Wonder where brother David was? Hm.)


Christa said...

When I was a kid we always had snow from early October until middle of Mars. And I can still remember the feeling when the first snowflakes began to fall...the smell in the air...feet that were so frozen it felt as if they were stuck in chocolate that Granny made when we came back in and so on.
Today I'm a lot happier without that white fluffy stuff. Too many years of it in Sweden made me rather tired of it.
When you're a kid it's all for play, but as a grown up you need to find the darn car in the drive way in the morning, and to dig it out on a weekly basis gets kinda old after a while.

MaryB said...

Christa, I can see why someone from Sweden would get sick of snow. I felt that way when I lived in Minnesota. But in the South, well, everything shuts down (anything over 1") and we all lay about in celebration of the stuff.

For some reason Shorty PJs won't post my brother Bill's comments. Possibly some kind of deep-seated past resentment, Bill. ;-)

Anyway, he sent me his comment via email, so I'm cutting and pasting it here:

Remember Sis, you ask where Bro. David was... Remember we
were so poor we couldn't afford ice cubes, so we drew lots, he lost so we flushed him. .... hence all the snow.

Ah, yes, we were so po'. He also adds:
Even before you and Cindy reared your"ugly" heads, Mother had the "Be quite and it will snow" scam in place. Sometime it worked... most of the time snows
were a great surprise. Remember those were the days before the Weather Channel.

"Ugly heads"??? What the Sam Hill? (I know where you live, remember, dear brother!)

Christa said...

Difficulties in posting comments on Blogger are often connected to problems with viewing Javascript. The comment part of Blogger is javascript least parts of it it can be a setting in the browser :)

MaryB said...

There you go, Big Brother. Christa has your answer. So, your not being able to comment wasn't some latent sibling resentment on my part, after all. Just on the part of your computer. Or my computer.