Remembering the snow

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, January 30, 2014

Before I moved down to Alabama, I lived up north for most of my life. When it started snowing this week, it brought back a lot of memories of the winter from my childhood.

When I was in preschool, my family lived in Rapid City, S.D. Since I was so young, I don’t remember too much about South Dakota, but I do remember how cold it would get during the winter.

When a blizzard hits the Midwest, there’s nothing quite like it. The wind drives the snow so strongly, that, when you look outside, all you can see is a white sheet hanging over the window. Out on the plains, nothing buffets the wind, so the wind chill drops the temperature down. My mom told me about one day when the wind chill was around -40 degrees Fahrenheit. It was so cold that the schools closed because they were scared the cold air would damage our lungs.

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When we moved to Boise, Idaho, it was about the same situation. It didn’t snow as often as in South Dakota, but when it did, it would fall in bunches. I particularly remember a certain snow day in kindergarten when I walked outside and snow was taller than I was. Even at age 6, it was a humbling feeling to see how powerful weather can be at time.

Most of my memories of the snow come from my four years in Frankfort, Ky. It didn’t snow very often in Frankfort, but when it did, it was almost equivalent to a holiday. My younger brother and I would stay up late and watch the news to see if our school would close for the day. At the bottom of the newscast a moving strip would show all the school cancellations in the area. When we saw our school flash across the ticker, we would let out a celebration that rivaled how we acted on Christmas.

While having a day off school was nice, the real fun came when we actually got outside to play in the snow. After spending nearly 30 minutes getting dressed to brave the elements, we would gingerly step outside until it got to be so cold that we were numb.

We lived on one of the biggest hills in Frankfort, and we would spend most of our day sledding down the hill on our inflatable inner tube and then trudging back up the hill. For some reason, there was nothing more appealing than speeding down our snow-covered hill and then crashing in to a snow bank at the bottom. We would build snowmen and have snowball fights, but nothing ever satisfied us like sledding down the hill at Crown Point Drive.

When the snow initially hit Troy this past week, some of that magic from childhood had disappeared. Maybe living in the South for so long has made me cynical, but it just was not as much fun to go outside and play in the snow. Now, it just felt cold outside.

After work on Wednesday, I was exhausted. It can be very tiring covering a natural disaster. When I pulled in to my driveway at around 6 p.m. Wednesday, I looked down the hill at Park Street and saw a hill perfect for sledding. Despite being basically asleep on my feet, I walked in to my apartment, put on my warmest clothes and found an old, deflated inner tube in my closet. I spent about 20 minutes manually blowing up the tube and the headed outside.

Right as the day’s last light faded, I sat myself down on the inner tube and pushed myself down the hill. My ride lasted about 10 seconds before careening in to the kudzu at the bottom of the hill. The 10 seconds may not have lasted long, but, in those 10 seconds, the snow didn’t seem all that bad, and everything felt right in the world.


Jeb Sharp is a staff writer at The Messenger. Email him at with comments.