We nearly always had a nice snow during North Georgia winters. But seldom right at Christmas. One year it happened.
When you waken on a snowy morning the first thing you notice is the quietness, a peaceful amazing quietness. Not that I minded the sounds of birds singing, someone chopping wood, pans banging in the kitchen. But the silence was very special. The next thing you might notice is the strange snow light on the ceiling, a soft almost eerie light. Waking to a white Christmas is like no other.
As was traditional in our family, we’d had our gift giving on Christmas Eve night. So Christmas morning was all about a big breakfast, performing chores quickly, and then playing with our gifts. But with snow whitening the whole world, our very first thought was to dash outside and make tracks in the soft crunch of accumulation.
There’s nothing more exciting, I think, than to follow a trail of rabbit tracks and then look back on your own trail of deeper footprints. The snow was still falling and we squealed in delight as we caught cool flakes on our tongues. Before long we were engaged in a brisk snowball fight, ambushing each other from behind bushes, feeling cold wetness down our necks, laughing at the sight of our wonderful snowman, complete with a windblown scarf and someone’s stocking hat flopped down over one pinecone eye.
Our hands, though covered with brand new mittens, were frozen to a numb ache. Mamma called us inside for biscuit bread and cocoa. Mamma’s cocoa was like none other. She made a big pot of it with cocoa powder, sugar, and milk and, at Christmas, even a big marshmallow floating in each cup like a melting snowy mountain. We giggled and jabbered over our breakfast before running out to enjoy the snow some more.
Cardboard boxes made sleds for us to plummet down hillsides, barely missing big pine trees. Some time before the snow stopped falling Mamma provided us with a large kettle to fill with perfectly clean snow found in a drift. She added sugar and cream and we all happily ate our snow cream, more delicious than any “store bought” ice cream.
The white Christmas I’m remembering Stan had received a plastic flute. Being extremely versatile with any instrument, he began playing a range of tunes from “Jingle Bells” to “Silent Night,” from “Comin’ Round the Mountain” to “Old McDonald,” and even snatches of the “Battle Hymn.” The sound of his flute seemed to echo extra brightly from the snow laden forest hills.
Speaking of snow laden, some of the delights of a nice soft snow are discovering tiny drifts on holly leaves and hearing the muffled shifting sound as trees seem to shrug off their added shawls. I particularly enjoyed the hemlocks laced with snow on their branches. It seemed magical the way every old brown stump or tacky winter bush became a thing of beauty.
I enjoyed vicariously my Birmingham grandchildren’s recent 7″ snowfall. It wasn’t at Christmas but it was an extra holiday and who wouldn’t be happy with that? They had such a wonderful snow day, just as we used to. Their dad was faithful to keep me posted on their Snow Day joys, knowing how much I love a snowy day–and the children!
We have had a few nice snows in Grady County in our fifty years here. But even flurries are rare, and certainly not to be expected at Christmas.
But I am a hopeful creature so I will listen for that unusual quietness of white stuff on Christmas morning. And I will peer out the blinds to see if just maybe the yard is turned into a winter wonderland.
But whether sleet, snow, or dreary rain, or maybe even bright sunshine are ours, Christmas will happen.
And God’s powerful and imaginative love is just as sure.
Merry Christmas to All!