A Southerner moves North

"Jan.10 5:00 P.M. It’s starting to snow. The first of the season and the first one we’ve seen in years. The wife and I took our hot buttered rum and sat by the picture window, watching the soft flakes drift down, clinging to the trees and covering the ground. It was beautiful!

Jan. 11 We awoke to a lovely blanket of crystal white snow covering the landscape. What a fantastic sight. Every tree and shrub covered with a beautiful white mantle. I shoveled snow for the first time ever and loved it. I did both our driveway and our sidewalk. Later a city snowplow came along and accidently covered up our driveway with compacted snow from the street. The driver smiled and waved. I waved back and shoveled it again.

Jan. 12 It snowed an additional 5 inches last night, and the temperature has dropped to around 11 degrees. Several limbs on the trees and shrubs snapped due to the weight of the snow. I shoveled our driveway again. Shortly afterwards, the snowplow came by and did his trick again. Much of the snow is now brownish-gray.

Jan. 13 Warmed up enough during the day to create some slush which soon became ice when the temperature dropped again. Bought snow tires for both cars. Fell on my ass in the driveway. $145 to a chiropractor, but nothing was broken. More snow and ice expected.

Jan. 14 Still cold. Sold the wife’s car and bought a 4×4 in order to get her to work. Slid into a guardrail anyway and did a considerable amount of damage to the right rear quarter-panel. Had another 8 inches of the white shit last night. Both vehicles covered in salt and crud. More shoveling in store for me today. That goddamn snowplow came by twice today.

Jan. 15 2 degrees outside. More fuckin’ snow. Not a tree or shrub on our property that hasn’t been damaged. Power was off most of the night. Tried to keep from freezing to death with candles and a kerosene heater, which tipped over and nearly burned the house down. I managed to put the flames out, but suffered second degree burns on my hands and lost all my eyelashes and eyebrows. Car slid on ice on way to emergency room and was totalled.

Jan.16 Goddamn mother fuckin’ white shit keeps on coming down. Have to put on all the clothes we own just to get to the fuckin’ mailbox. If I ever catch the son-of-a-bitch that drives the snowplow, I’ll chew open his chest and rip out his heart. I think he hides around the corner and waits for me to open our driveway again! Power still off. Toilet froze and part of the roof has started to cave in.

Jan.17 Six goddamn more fuckin’ inches of fuckin’ snow and fuckin’ sleet and fuckin’ ice and God knows what other kind of white fuckin’ shit fell last night. I wounded the fuckin’ snowplow asshole with an ice axe, but he got away. Wife left me. Car won’t start. I think I’m going snow blind. I can’t move my toes. I haven’t seen the sun in weeks. More snow predicted. Wind chill -22 fuckin’ degrees. I’m moving back to South Carolina!"   Unknown Southerner

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61 Responses to A Southerner moves North

  1. frogspawn says:

    hee hee hee
    Bless you Colonel.
    Lord am I tired.

  2. dilbert dogbert says:

    Col Lang,
    Thanks for the post. I have seen this before and my feelings about the 9 inches of snow we go here is sunny California are approximate to those in the joke. Snow is beautiful for maybe a day but after that I just want it to go away. Here in sunny California we go to the snow, ski, play and then come home. We don’t want it to come visit us and overstay its welcome.
    Two of the kids are in DC and one is trying to get home from Texas and not having much luck.
    Stay warm.

  3. R Whitman says:

    At this time of year, we, in south Texas always ask: “What is this thing called snow?”

  4. JohnH says:

    I remember when we had 110 inches of snow one winter in Connecticut. It was my last winter in snow country. I retired my now shovels (sob)!
    It was a dreadful sacrifice, but somebody had to do it.

  5. John the Radiator says:

    Keep your lamps trimmed and burning.

  6. The Twisted Genius says:

    Great story. First time I’ve seen it. I grew up in Connecticut and remember standing on snow drifts feeding snow down to my father and the snowblower. I was standing over his head.
    My first duty station was Hawaii. I remember looking for a house to rent and ruling out a lot of them thinking I would never be able to get up the driveway in the winter. Shows the persistence of early learning.
    I shoveled out the driveway earlier today (18 inches). Tomorrow, I’ll only have 4 inches or so to do. Of course we won’t see a plow on the road until Monday at the earliest. Broke out the showshoes to fill the bird feeder. I’m loving it… so far.

  7. greg0 says:

    Funny post. All in a week, eh?
    We had our week of bad snow and ice last year at this time. Wood stove worked great, and I somehow cut the big broken limbs the right way BEFORE they met the power line. (That’s always the power company’s first question: “Did you get electrocuted?”)
    I grew up in snow country, though. Don’t know if I’ll ever adjust to ABS. Going slow is safest.

  8. J says:

    What a woose. I’d like to see him trying to feed cattle with his new found outlook regarding snow and ice. Problems come into play when you have a blizzard condition with straight-line hard winds that cause cattle to literally drown standing up as their lungs fill up with ice water.
    And I don’t guess I’ll have to worry about him doing with I did as a junior in high school, a really stupid teenager move — go hunting a first calf heifer on horseback and get caught in a blizzard in the process. It’s rough when one can’t see any farther than the horse’s ears. Luckly I had sense enough to just let go of their reins and let my horse take us back ot the barns. I told my dad later what I did and he went through the roof. I learned my lesson on that one.

  9. President James Earl Carter sent his son Chip to Buffalo to see the snow. Saw 19 feet. Chip came back home to DC and told DAD it was awful. DAD declared the first ever Presidential disaster for snow. Now many other Presidents have done so. Mainly Southerners. Still no heat declarations. Plenty for drought though. Certainly ironic that both in Copenhagen and DC the President got a blizzard on both ends of the Climate Change Congress. Who knows maybe last good one this Century. Farmers Almanac predicted colder than normal winter but what do they know.

  10. fredko says:

    I laughed my ass off! I just finished woveling to get a head start vs tomorrow AM – Huntington, LI

  11. YT says:

    I’d like to f***in’ see some snow in near future, at least a week in Korea or Japan at some love hotel with a desirable wench. Where I’m stayin’ the sun god**** scorches!
    Must be due to all ’em advert scenes I saw years ago from a Korean televised sob story named Winter Sonata.
    In bed on a freezin’ day with a wench to warm me up, priceless.

  12. John Minnerath says:

    I’ve seen that story in various forms many times and every time I read it, I laugh so hard I can hardly finish it.
    I’m a Northerner, born and bred, and have lived in this same small mountain valley in Wyoming for about 40 years.
    We can see our first white shit in the middle of August and the last stuff for the spring in June.
    A little higher up and if you’re crazy enough to grow a garden, sometimes you can get some lettuce!
    Around here life revolves around your wood pile and it’s a rule that you always have just enough cut and split to last till the first 30 below shit in December.
    We all talk about tying a snow shovel to the front of our 4X4s and heading south till someone asks us what it is.
    Then we’ll know we’ve gone far enough! LOL
    Thanks for the tears of laughter colonel.

  13. Cold War Zoomie says:

    Lots of Cape Cods built right after WWII in the DC area don’t have a garage, so I’ll be digging out the two cars in about an hour. When the plow arrives in a day or two I’ll be digging them out again.
    Oh joy.

  14. frank durkee says:

    Reminds me of “the great snow of ’68 in D.C.” the best sledding in town was down the front steps of the capital.

  15. RAISER William says:

    Had a colleague once who claimed that when he retired he would put a snow shovel in the grill of his pick-up and head south. He’d stop when someone asked him, “What’s that funny thing in the grill of your pick-up?”

  16. Sidney O. Smith III says:

    I attended college “up north”. But lucky for me, my roommate — one of the all time greats — was from NJ and he would lead the way when we would go walking up and down streets looking for his car buried underneath snow. I couldn’t believe it.
    Of course, all these years later, he now lives in Austin TX — an Athens GA writ large.
    Walking out on a frozen river use to flip me out at well. You’d hear a “ping” sound that would ricochet up and down the ice.

  17. Jackie says:

    We get some weather here in KC, KS, but mother nature must have been testing this poor individual from the south. Seems to have broken his spirit.
    My favorite snows were from the late 50s and early 60’s. Dad would harness three sleds to the Shetland pony and we would go up and down the street. Dad had to stand on the first sled and place a hand on the pony’s rear to keep the sled from riding up on her hooves. She was kind of picky about that.
    I hope we don’t get anything like what this man lived through this year.
    Happy holidays and merry Christmas to all of you. You are an enlightening crew.
    And a special thanks to the proprietor. You are the tops, sir. Best wishes for the holiday to you and your family.

  18. Patrick Lang says:

    Did I meet you in KC? pl

  19. Buzz Meeks says:

    I remember visiting my former long-term-girlfriend in DC during while she was doing her post doc law degree at GWU back in the early eighties. Had an IH Scout II and we were the only ones out after five inches of snow. This was pre-SUV. A great GF and a great truck.
    I live in Buffalo and wouldn’t trade the winters here- the majority of the assholes move somewhere else except the rethuglican county ex and slimy Tom Reynolds’ sucksessor in con-gress. Or, they don’t move here to screw things up worse than the already are because they are afraid of snow.
    Best Holiday wishes to all. Thanks for all the valued and considered commentary.
    Buzz Meeks

  20. Bart says:

    Here just west of Charlottesville we had 25″ of the beautiful stuff. No power for 27 hours, but our piss-ant generator ran fine to power the water pump, fridge, and one TV.
    Won’t be able to get into town until at least Wednesday, though.

  21. Sara says:

    This comes to you from Minnesota, where we have 8 on the ground, with the promise of a three day Blizzard beginning Wed, and lasting through Saturday.
    Back in the 80’s when my folks were still alive, and living in Old Town, Alexandria — this only child had to respond to health emergencies by flying into DC — frequently to experience the fact that no one in DC knew how to drive in snow, and treated a few inches as if it were a Nuclear Threat Warning. (immediately bought up all the milk and bread in markets, as if none would ever be delivered again.)
    One year I borrowed a cousin’s old “beater” — that is the old beat up kind of car with stick shift one saves for winter driving — and needing to make a Hospital Visit, went out mid morning to drive off. Neighbors all told me, driving was out of the question. But I did my thing, chopped a little snow, looked over the ruts carefully, and first try, popped the little Datsun out into the middle of the street. No spinning tires, no sweat. Suddenly, all the folk who had been watching behind shutters and drapes were out on the street — “Pop my car out too before you leave for the Hospital!!”
    So always wanting to be helpful, I popped out three of them, leaving instructions for clearing parking spots, de-icing ruts, and a line of cars in the middle of the street as I drove off.
    DC area drivers need extensive drivers training for snow weather, I would suggest a serious stimulius funded ten day long program perhaps in Ely Minnesota, followed by special license amendments permitting snow driving in and around the District. The rest of you should stay off the roads.

  22. Pat Lang,
    We have lots of the white stuff here in northern Michigan. Six grandchildren have arrived with two more coming today, so sledding, snowball fights and skiing are all on the schedule.
    We served the Smithfield ham, prepped and cooked in accordance with your recipe and accompanied by baked hominy and shrimp, last night to rave reviews.
    Merry Christmas.

  23. Patrick Lang says:

    Glad you liked it. I am cooking one today to distribute as Christmas presents in the neighborhood. pl

  24. Different Clue says:

    Southeast Michigan has a lot less snow than other parts of Michigan or also some other Northern states.
    The special feature of winter here is its feeling of endless dreary unendingness. Some years the sky is overcast for 1-2 weeks at a time followed by one sunny day followed by 1-2 more overcast weeks. Teaser-foretastes of spring occur in April followed by spring snowstorms. One little snow flurry can be expected every May.

  25. Different Clue says:

    (I hope I am not being too much of a comment-hog; but earlier I was at a timed-shutout computer; and now I am at a computer with more time).
    A couple-more winter memories. 25 years ago or so, we had a few-inch snowfall in mid-March; and a
    Soviet immigrant friend of mine got all upset about it.
    I found that strange. In talking, here is what I learned. While the Ukrainian/Russian winter is much colder than ours; their seasons run on a predictable timetable-schedule. Every season comes when it is supposed to; with no encore appearances by the season which should be ending. March-in-Moscow should be sliding into spring. You would have to go to Leningrad (which it was then) to expect snow in mid-March. You would have to go
    to Murmansk or Archangelsk to get snow in April. So when we got a 6-inch snowfall that April, I didn’t even ask him what he thought about that.
    More recently, I noticed a disturbing pattern. We would get several days near zero in mid-early December to freeze the bare ground hard. Then we would get snow. Then we would get a flash-thaw which melted and ran-off all the snow. That cycle would repeat till spring with zero snowpack left on ground to melt into the finally-thawing ground. I finally learned to dig all the snow up off of my yard and pack it onto my garden beds so I would have some left by springtime to pre-snow-water the start-of-season garden. (If life hands you snow drifts, make snow driftade).
    Two Decembers ago I was harvesting just such a snowfall when I looked up to see a snowy owl flying high overhead. Hard blue sky bright white owl. Very memorable.
    Kurt Vonnegut once suggested the Great Lakes region of the Midwest really has 6 seasons. He poetically named the two extra seasons “locking” and “un-locking”. I would more prosaically name them “freeze-up” and “break-up”. We have a month or so of “freeze-up” before real winter and then a month or so of “break-up” before real spring.

  26. shepherd says:

    With a big winter storm approaching, I once moved my car to a side lawn to protect it from falling branches. We got 25 inches of snow, which drifted up and concealed the car. As I was shoveling out my parking spaces in front of the house, a big town snow plow came by and helpfully offered to plow them. I said sure. Then, instead of pushing the snow up the short driveway as you’d expect , he took a side swipe, ripped out a small retaining wall, and dumped that and about a ton of heavy slush on my hidden car. Luckily, no damage was done to the car.

  27. jonst says:

    This, the last three weeks, is in the top three of brutal weather stretches I can recall in Maine in 30+ years living in Maine. I am counting the days till I am in Florida…9 and a wake up, to go.

  28. Ryan says:

    This is funny as hell. So funny I’m sending it to a friend of mine who lives in Minnesota. He’ll appreciate this.

  29. dan bradburd says:

    Writing from “the North Country” just below the Canadian border in NY. We’ve had weeks of temperatures oscillating around zero, from a bit more than 20 below to about 20 above, with snow on the ground since well before Christmas. Coldest winter we’ve seen in a long time. It’s not that we’re hardy, we just expect the cold and snow, so our public works departments is prepared and gets on it; roads are plowed when the snow starts, sidewalks too. Makes it easier to get around than in lots of warmer places. And, with luck, this winter’s cold will kill a bunch of invasive species.

  30. Booby says:

    Years ago I lived on a barrier island in NC. The couple next door had just moved south from Chicago & liked to laugh about leaving their snow shovels behind. They invited about 15 family members to come south to enjoy a warm southern Christmas. With their house packed to the gills, we got a freak northeastern that dumped 18″s of snow. We were house bound for 3-4 days.

  31. John Minnerath says:

    I never get tired of reading this hilarious and absolutely factual chronicle of dealing with the winter living in a town up north in snow country.

  32. nick b says:

    Howling at my desk! Great stuff. I wish we could call Winter and let them know we get the joke, and they can stop now.
    Thanks for the laughs, Col.

  33. steve g says:

    I live in Minnesota and this captures
    the essence of a northern winter. From
    wonderment to the eventual “seige” mentality.
    We have had 52 plus days of below zero
    temps from Dec to now. Nary a flake has
    melted. Thirty plus inches in the yard and
    frozen ice covered streets everywhere. Each
    rush hour multiple accidents and rollovers.
    Nothing like our Canadian brothers but stll
    quite bad. The home baseball opener is only
    one month away!!

  34. oofda says:

    My relatives in WI have had 50+ straight days of below zero weather. A couple weeks ago, -42 in northern MN..colder than on Mars.

  35. Fred says:

    Just returned from Florida, where I left 80 degrees to see 5 and 5 inches of snow in the driveway.

  36. Charles I says:

    Gardeners and farmers generally love the snow as much as the spring.

  37. Charles I says:

    Too funny. When I was a kid, it was like this every winter.

  38. georgeg says:

    Great post……My friends in the Cayman’s will love this…..

  39. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Col. Lang:
    At least the snow-belt does not have as many roaches and other such things…

  40. tv says:

    Every time I read this, I laugh like the first time I read it.
    Guy I know went to Syracuse Univ.
    Quite a few southern kids in the freshman class;none came back for sophomore year.

  41. rjj says:

    By the way… some fellow over at Slate.com did a huge service to humankind with a piece about coal shovels as the most efficient tool for moving snow. Seemed to make sense. Needed a shovel. Got one – worried a little about the weight but decided it was an acceptable tradeoff. He was absolutely right: the weight is not at all tiring. Coal shovels actually make the motion of moving (all kinds of) snow FUN.

  42. nick b says:

    Dr. Makkinejad,
    Oh, we do. The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug in particular. A Chinese import, I believe, which has infested eastern Pennsylvania where I live. We don’t have the Ash Borer here yet, but it’s just a matter of time, and most of our mature forest is Ash, so it’s going to be a problem. But if this particularly cold and snowy winter has any upside, this is it:

  43. ked says:

    this particular season, one might be moving back to SC from the North… Carolina.

  44. nick b says:

    Steve g,
    My friends from Minnesota have always told me their state has only two seasons: Winter and August.

  45. NancyK says:

    I loved this. We moved from Southern Calif to North Carolina 2 years ago and the 1st year there was little snow and everyone told us it didn’t get too cold here. We were quite surprised by this winter but feel we are handling it well, especially when we went to Lima Peru for the month of Feb. As my husband says about winter here, “that is what South and Central America are for. We returned to another cold front, but as spring is around the corner, we can deal with it.

  46. Jack Connor says:

    If he left by Jan 17th he missed the really cold weather!

  47. turcopolier says:

    Been down to the Matunuck Oyster Bar? I had some of theors last week at the Palm in DC. Some of best oysters I have ever had. pl

  48. SAC Brat says:

    Snow snakes are a concern.

  49. turcopolier says:

    SAC Brat
    Waadih! (Obviously) pl

  50. Charles I says:

    Hey Sidney, long time. Driving the truck out on the lake to go fishing sometimes we can see an ice “wave”, pretty freaky the first time.

  51. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Yes, I do miss the stately Elm trees – victim of another immigrant bug…this time from Holland

  52. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Yes, I miss the Elm trees – another victim of an immigrant bug from Holland

  53. Russ says:

    Hi Pat,
    I remember a variant of this and have thought of it often. this year. Someone in RI was arrested this year for attacking and injuring a snow plow driver. Justifiable this year. Fortunately we have a new snow blower with more horsepower than our cars.
    Eva suggested going to the Matunuck Oyster Bar recently. I told her we should wait til summer (if it ever comes). Matunuck was the seen of RI’s only confirmed sighting of a mountain lion.

  54. Mark Kolmar says:

    I have spent 95% of my life figuratively in spitting distance of the Northeast Southwest coast aka Lake Michigan USA. This winter has been a mental challenge. You can hear it in their voices as far south as St. Louis. Damn near every day is single digit highs (degrees F) or below. All the other days coat a blanket of peaceful death. You almost start to believe it in yourself.
    Before we start to feel too badly about ourselves, I remember my friends in Texas who burn out tomato gardens by June. Notwithstanding 3 out of of the last 6 “not normal” summers either, I feel this is my destination on Earth, something that resembles a home.
    Gretchen, former barn cat, indoor/outdoor, took a brown-grey pet into the house early October. So we raised a 2 lb. rat in the basement until about 2 weeks ago. I can’t say it was satisfying to puncture its neck, but necessary and humane after it took poison. Tenacious, tiny beast lived a king’s life in rats’ terms. Unrelated: Did you ever have to pull a cat’s leg off a sticky trap? These animals do pretend to be dignified.

  55. Lee says:

    Let’s hear it for studded bicycle tires!

  56. steve says:

    Having moved from New Orleans to northern Iowa, what strikes me about the winters here is not the cold, nor the snow itself, but the colors–for months on end, everything is brown, white, and grey.
    With the brown and white, I think of winter in Iowa as a dirty diaper.

  57. Ryan says:

    Y’all have my sympathy with this mess.
    My Minnesotan friend got a kick out of this post and sent me this in return:
    “An irreverent, curmudgeonly dude told us last week at the AM B.S. session: ‘It’s a good thing I don’t have exposed rafters in my house – It’s too damned cold to go out and hang yourself.'”

  58. Bill C. says:

    My Gawd, I have not laughed like that for years!
    Born 1951, semi-retired, L.A., CA native here, now living in N. County San Deigo, I would NEVER think of moviing to somewhere like that described! I desperately want to get out of California, but, by God, not there.
    So, amongst cold, bugs, humidity and taxes looks like Nevada (unless there’s places in Texas that aren’t terribly humid and I don’t know about).

  59. Bill C. says:

    My Gawd, I have not laughed like that for years!
    Born 1951, semi-retired, L.A., CA native here, now living in N. County San Deigo, I would NEVER think of moviing to somewhere like that described! I desperately want to get out of California, but, by God, not there.
    So, amongst cold, bugs, humidity and taxes looks like Nevada (unless there’s places in Texas that aren’t terribly humid and I don’t know about).

  60. elkern says:

    You can take my shovel when you pry it from my (very) cold, dead hands!

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