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FROM THE SNOWY SIDE OF INTERSTATE 40—One of my New Year’s resolutions for 2011 is to keep a better diary—or weather log, whichever comes first.
Since conditions this week decided to take a turn of white—one for the season and record books—I decided to start early and do both, smack at the tail end of 2010.
•Christmas Eve, Friday, Dec. 24: Pleasant and sunny outlook leaving my Carolina coastal abode headed for the mountains. A white Christmas is in the forecast, according to the weather pros, but the biggest storm I see so far is the lines of traffic of last-minute, procrastinating shoppers headed to all the malls and piling into parking lots along the interstate. Feeling smug I can miss that mess as I cruise through Asheville with not a snowflake or Santa-sleigh in sight.
•Christmas Day, Saturday, Dec. 25: Jaw drops as I rise early and gaze out the bathroom window of my mother’s house in the Tennessee mountains. Blinded by the white, then thrilled as I realize it’s the first Christmas snowfall I can recall in decades of my decades-old life. Just in time, too, Santa left a cozy pair of fuzzy pink sheep pajamas with matching slippers, along with a few credit-card receipts nobody has to fret about until January 2011.
•Sunday, Dec. 26: I was supposed to head back to the beach this morning, but with steady flakes still snowing down on the inches-high accumulation from Christmas Day, Mama says I’ll have to wait as she probably can’t come and fetch me should I become stranded, most likely in the blizzard through Asheville.
“I’m just an old woman and can’t help much,” she says.
Pink sheep slippers look and feel fine on her indoor carpet, but not so well in the cold snow, which fell like a maniac all day again over the Smokies, obliterating previously dug clearances by city snow plows.
Worry about the weather one day after Christmas is somewhat overwhelming, forcing me to eat holiday cookies and several slices of pie.
•Monday, Dec. 27: Several pounds and millions of snowflakes later, snow continues to fall as I saw a hungry coyote making tracks across my mother’s white-blanketed patio shortly before 6 a.m. I’m grateful I don’t seem to have it as bad as him or people shown on the news stuck at airports to the North, where the snowstorm is moving. I think.
All I have to worry about now is shoveling my way out of the driveway and back to work 400 miles east sometime before this week’s newspaper deadline—along with a new shape-up strategy for the New Year thanks to all the pie.
My diary and end-of-year column?
Thanks to the miracle of the snow-free Internet, they’re on their way.
Laura Lewis is a staff writer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890, e-mail email@example.com or by carrier penguin to the frozen reaches of the Great Smoky Mountains.