Flurry of activity ensues when light snow predicted

Last night, they said we were supposed to have snow flurries on Monday, just a little, no big deal, nothing to get in a sweat about around here, which is central North Carolina.

So, of course, I went to the store and bought all the makings for chili, because I’m from Ohio and “that’s how we roll,” as my students would say. We don’t mess with the milk, bread and eggs because who wants French toast during the Gator Bowl when, with very little money and a giant crockpot, you can make enough chili to last through at least four playoff games, and possibly all the way to Easter if you have enough kung pao shrimp to supplement, in case word gets out.

But, why did I go buy chili stuff when they said it wouldn’t be a big snowfall? Because they said it wouldn’t be a big snowfall. And, of course, that means it’s going to be a big snowfall.

See, I’ve figured it out now. I get it. When the weathermen of North Carolina instigate 24/7 coverage of a possible “snow event,” and they’re all wearing that “I’m-very-very-concerned-but-trying-to-remain-professional-so-that-the-common- –
folk-won’t-panic-although-I-sent-my-wife-and-children-south-this-morning!” expression as they point here and there on the map and detail every possible radar reading in the country, including a “probable precipitating incident” in Shreveport, La., and, when they call for trucks to begin sanding the roads 12 hours before the sanding at, say, the North Pole has gotten under way, and they proclaim, solemnly and repeatedly, that we need to “make preparations for a significant snowfall” and stay home, stay inside, and land sakes don’t even think about driving … that means we can relax. Chances are, we will awaken to green grass, blue skies and not a flake of snow. Not one … anywhere.

On the other hand, when those same weathermen smile, calmly and somewhat condescendingly, and tell us we might get a few flurries, “mostly on the Virginia border if even that,” and we certainly don’t need to sand the roads, or buy shovels and generators, or panic in the streets, because it will almost certainly bypass our area completely, so we don’t anticipate even school delays let alone school closings, and they shake their heads and smirk at the silliness of us common folk … well, it’s time to buy chili stuff. Because you can bet your … uh … Aunt Fanny, there will be snow. Probably lots of it.

And, in North Carolina, lots of snow means the power will go out almost instantly. Our electric lines don’t do snow … or ice … or, actually, a good stiff wind, but snow is really befuddling to them. But, with plenty of wood stacked up outside, the makings for chili (which I’ll start the moment the first flake falls and finish on the gas grill’s burner if necessary), a few nice bottles of wine and a seriously good book, I’m set.

In fact, I could even hang the pot of chili right over the fire in the fireplace, if I can figure out how to do that. I am so Laura on “Little House on the Prairie”!

Maybe I’ll call Brian, my neighbor, and see if he can help me rig something up, although come to think of it, after that whole “Pleeeeease-come-over-and-get-this-dead-mouse-out-of-my-house-right-away-while-I-hide-in-my-bathroom-shrieking!!” thing, he may not be taking my calls. Fine. No chili for him!

In preparation for this huge “It really won’t be much, we swear!” event, I am anticipating at least one snow day off for school on Tuesday. Therefore, I’m completely ignoring the towering stack of presentation papers and packets I brought home to grade this weekend, because of all the time I’ll have to do them during the snow break. On Monday, I’ll explain to my students that I couldn’t finish all the grading, and I wanted to bring everything back at once, so they will definitely be getting their work back on Tuesday (snicker).

Then, I’ll give them candy — I have about 43 bags of candy canes left over from our Christmas party — and jack them all up before they go home and get stuck inside with their parents for at least 48 hours. Just imagining the tender moments that will ensue between my beloved teenage students and their “Of-course-I-love-them-but-no-electricity-are-you-kidding-me-and-who-gave-them-all-this-sugar?!” moms and dads will provide me with hours of hysterical laughter as I sit quietly by my fire, and fond memories for years to come.

Oh, shoot, I need to order the kung pao shrimp!

Vicki Wentz’s column, which appears here on Sundays, is published in newspapers across the country. She is a high school teacher who lives in Chapel Hill, N.C. Readers may contact her at vwentz@mindspring.com.

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