Snow Stories


If you live in the South, you know it doesn’t take much frozen precipitation to shut us down.  We all have stories. 

First note:  I am sympathetic to the people who have to make decisions about whether to close things down or not, whether school superintendents or governors or pastors. We had a school superintendent in our church in Batesburg who helped me understand the complexity of the decision—school kids waiting for school buses at the end of long dirt roads with Mom and Dad leaving for work at 5:30 a.m. and the kids waiting outside expecting the school bus.  When I was a pastor, I also learned that some sweet old folks have such a stern “Don’t miss church” instruction still lingering in their brain from their parents 80 years ago that they will drive in terrible, inclement weather to get to their church like the good Christians they want to be.  Even when it was possible for some people to walk to church, I always felt the need to shut it town to protect these saints from themselves.

First story:  Back when I was single, I visited my girlfriend’s home in Westchester County, New York.  She and I were to get on a plane on Christmas afternoon to return to South Carolina where we were leading an after-Christmas camp for Young Life kids.  After driving halfway to the airport in New York City, her dad asked which airport we were leaving from.  Well, duh.  We didn’t have a choice of airports in our Southern cities and towns.  He was not happy when I told him the correct airport.  Apparently we had been driving in the snow toward the wrong destination.  We ended up being snowed into LaGuardia for 16 hours.  This, please note, was not a Southern airport.

 Second story:  Honeymoon!  Sally and I drove to New England for our honeymoon after Christmas in1972 and came back to our first apartment together:  Huntington Apartments in Northeast Columbia—complete with fireplace.  We got snowed in with the January 1973 snowstorm immediately upon our return—still the biggest in our memory.  Schools were closed, but that didn’t keep our Young Life high school kids from visiting us!  What a hoot!  Schools were closed for about a week.  The snow was deep.  Then, Sally’s school, Gibbes Middle School, experienced a fire and she didn’t have to go to school for another week!  Nice honeymoon. 

 Third story:  Shelden and Christie Timmerman, Sally and I were going to Atlanta for a Big Weekend of eating at a fine restaurant and touring the Big City.  When we got to Atlanta, we were locked down in our motel rooms because of snow.  We were able to go to a fast food franchise across the street and order take out which we ate while sitting on the floor of our hotel room.  An adventure.

Fourth story:  Driving back to Kentucky from South Carolina when I was attending seminary, we (Sally, baby Jenna and I) hit an ice slick on I-75.  Our car spun until it was sitting perpendicular across the highway.  One car behind us drove on the right shoulder to avoid us and kept going.  A truck behind us drove into the median and his cab and rig ended up on its side.  I pulled off the side of the road until I was sure the truck driver and everyone else was okay.  Cars were stopping to help.  We were never touched by another vehicle.  I got back into our car and we drove to the next exit and got a motel room for the night.

Fifth, sixth, seventh, etc.  Too many to tell.  What are your experiences?

Categories: Family, Health, Humor, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Snow Stories

  1. When I was five in the country, up in the snow belt, I could touch the telephone pole wires from on top of the storey high pickles of snow.

    Acting in a school tour in Saskatchewan in my twenties we’d stay in hamlets that had only a bar and 4 rooms overtop. By a 19th century law, they had to have the rooms so farmers wouldn’t freeze being dragged home in a blizzard ln their sleighs.

  2. “Pickles”, above, should read “piles.” Curse you, auto-correct!

  3. Brena Walker

    When we first moved to SC in 1973 from grad school in Texas we did not bring all of our “stuff” because we had stored a bunch of it at my in-law’s farm in Arkansas. We planned to rent a trailer and bring everything home when we visited the farm at Christmas time.
    So, in mid December we drove to Arkansas from Anderson with our two small daughters. All went as planned until the day we headed east toward home, pulling a loaded trailer. A light mist began to fall, but we were sure we could drive far enough South to escape icy roads. Wrong! The farm is over 800 miles from Anderson, and we got exactly 75 miles before the roads began freezing, and our 1973 Pontiac could not pull that trailer up the Ozark mountain hills.
    We were able to literally back up and turn around near Clinton, Arkansas, and coast into the parking lot of the Clinton Motel.
    For the next three days the four of us stayed in one small room, walked over slick sidewalks to the City Cafe for meals (no food service at the motel), and wait for a thaw. On day four, we trusted the Highway Patrol and headed East. After 102 miles on slick roads, we finally got to Memphis and drove due South until we found clear roads!
    We will never forget that experience.

  4. Bill

    Many memories–even mirrored one of mine almost exactly–but loved the photo most–some folks truly know how to appreciate snow and that photo demonstrates it perfectly.

  5. Steve Long

    In early March of 1979, two carloads of Furman faithful headed to Roanoke, VA for the SOCON basketball tournament. I was driving one of the cars. We left in sunny, 50 degree weather that Friday morning. Upon arriving in Roanoke, it was still clear and sunny but much cooler. That night we headed for the Roanoke Coliseum. During the games, it began to snow, and snow, and snow. Saturday morning we awoke to 10″ of snow. We were able to get around Roanoke pretty well and attended the championship game that afternoon. Furman won and we headed back to the hotel for a great celebration meal. Early Sunday morning we got up, ate breakfast and headed out south on I-81. It was not too bad as one lane was fairly clear. However, we could not go real fast which was not good enough for some truckers who zoomed past us in the left, snow-covered land. Everything went well for us until we reached Charlotte where the snow turned to ice. But even that was navigable as long as we did not get too fast. It was mid afternoon when we took the I-385 exit into Greenville. I had been following the other car all the way. As we came to the curve to merge onto 385, I caught a large patch of ice just a bit to fast. At that moment the rear end of the car began to approach the front end of the car. I somewhat overreacted and cut the steering wheel a little too quickly to the right sending the rear end to the left front of the car. This time I got the car straight, but unfortunately straight was headed off the road. We began to drift off the road toward a fence. I was able to stop the car just as the front bumper eased up against the fence. The other car saw our condition and backed up. We were able to push the car back from the fence and I was able to drive across the grass parallel to the pavement until I was able to access the road again. Luckily there was no damage and my heart was back to normal beats by the time I arrived home.

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