Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The other side of the Snowman

The anticipation of today was offset by a snow storm of biblical proportions, by North Carolina standards, 4 inches. Today we are all sitting in our home away from home, the ‘code’ room of the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology clinic at UNC, but yesterday was a different story. School was on a 2 hour delay in anticipation of snow, so there was hope. Hope is a powerful condition, it carries the hint of success, the taste of victory, the whiff of wonderful; and a child and his sister prayed mighty prayers that school would be cancelled. 6 am school was cancelled, 2 inches of thick wet snow mixed with winds gusting to 25 mph had made the roads so hazardous that there were over 150 accidents in our area.

There is something bordering on a sense of high sinful pleasure when one cuddles up in a warm bed, comforter wrapped around you like an oversized Mexican burrito. Waking is a slow pleasure of gentle rising until one faces a window and sees the fluffy white stuff being wind swept into 6 inch drifts. Two possible emotional responses might be reasonably anticipated: 1. Who’s gonna shovel this @#$%#*! 2. Oh! That should be fun to play in. In the Piedmont of NC there is a ‘liaise faire’ attitude about snow it is born of two realities: A. Someday it will snow. B. We have neither the equipment, experience nor inclination to do anything about it. (It’ll all melt away within a day anyway) The other contributing factor to any lack of action was of course the inauguration of the 44th President of the USA.

Having been absent from this type of weather for three years, one might suppose a degree of wonder about the white stuff. What was expressed, gasps of surprise, slack jawed awe, and a real joy at the apparent miracle that God would not only bestow an additional day of rest (from school) but there was gonna be enough of the stuff to have some serious fun.

The wind whipped additional accumulations into place over the remainder of the morning, and in a post inaugural address revelation, the wind died and the sun came out, Wow! In a moment of pure childhood joy Evan ran barefoot into Snoopy’s Magic Food Room (Rather than feeding the hound from the table, we have established that table scraps may only be fed to said mutt in the screened porch off the back of house. As proof of Pavlov’s work, Snoopy stands eagerly in tail wagging fashion by the back door at every meal waiting for access to his Magic Food Room)

The errant run to freedom was met with 2 realizations: Snow is still cold stuff, even in NC; and that Evan is (In Russian accented English) Strong like Bull and Smart like Book! No, not book smart, smart like book! 5 minutes later, dressed with shoes, sweater, hat and shoes, our intrepid cold weather explorer set foot into the frozen tundra of the central highlands of North Carolina. 5 minutes later and dad was shoveling the driveway in NC shoveling attire, and Sissy was modeling the latest skiwear for the NC State Ski Team.

The peals of gleeful laughter echoing from the frozen edifices of the neighborhood only paled in comparison to the ear to ear smiles and rosy cheeks of the children having snowball fights, sledding, and making snow cream. When it only happens in a blue moon, the need to experience it all is overwhelming.
Snow Cream is a NC specialty for snow storms; take a 2:1 ratio of cream to sugar, add 1tsp of vanilla and mix in fresh snow till it develops a solid consistency. The microscopic nature of the snow makes the desert absolutely amazing. Thanks to our NC neighbors who introduced us to this treat. For never getting snow, they sure have the best recipe.

As the day ended, as you can see the sunset was spectacular. And the mariners saying came to mind, “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight; Red sky in the morning, sailor’s warning.”
Today began with the potentially treacherous drive over icy roads to the hospital. We left early and traveling mercies saw us arrive with the perfect time to spare. As pre-medications (changes were made to protect the innocent) were lined up like students in line for lunch we all (Doctor, Nurses, Rec therapist, parents and Evan) waited in almost breathless anticipation of what would happen next. Even when you know its coming, the interactions are difficult to address. The sense of muscle discomfort knows no remedy, no drug can make it go away, no relaxation technique will shed the burden, no tissue is big enough for the tears that fall. Only a drug induced sedation will calm the nerves of all involved. The vivid nightmares in coming nights will be talked through and cried into the shoulders of mom and dad. This we can all deal with, not the leg ‘cramps’ that know no end and have no respite.
As always, your prayers are deemed essential and the warmth of your thoughts a comforting blanket into which we might curl up into while resting by the warmth of a fire stoked in the hearth of our family’s love.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

From one North Carolinian, we had to come up with a way to savor the snow, since we only get it once in a blue moon....hence the Snow Cream reciepe....we had some too!

Glad they enjoyed the snow...