Will we have a white Christmas this year in the Lowcountry?
Will alligators perform “The Nutcracker”?
Would we even know what to do?
It hasn’t been easy all these years here in the subtropics.
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When our children were small enough to sit in the laps of old St. Nick, they had to learn different Christmas carols.
“I’m Dreaming of a Hot Christmas.”
“Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Window.”
Someone on Facebook this week said Christmas in the Lowcountry means turning the air conditioner on full blast to enjoy the fireplace.
Our children think snow is something like whip cream. It comes in a spray can.
Maybe in the North Pole, the little children get sick of snow. Maybe they think it is burden to be scraped to the street, where it will turn black and ugly.
But it’s not so for Southern kids. Snow is a magical dream come true.
When we visited my Granny in Virginia, we could smell the snow coming over House Mountain. Uncle Jamie’s brother Tom would come by the house and pronounce that it was snowing in east Lexington.
We squealed like the stock market had hit 30,000. And we knew the game was on when the two men started the great debate in their thick mountain accents: “You putting chains on your tars?”
Soon, we would lie in the snow and make “snow angels” by doing side straddle hops on our cold, wet backsides.
We made snow ice cream that made our insides as cold as our fingers, and someone would always say we were spooning down a mixture of snow, sugar and milk that was somehow radioactive. We didn’t care.
Granny threw snowballs at us, much to our glee. And her squatty dog Rattler always sprang to life in the snow.
All of nature knew this was special. Snow made the moonlight softer, the cemeteries quieter, the bell-ringing crisper and the sledding hills happier.
One time, by some quirk the authorities will never be able to explain, it did snow in the Lowcountry on Christmas Day.
We had just pulled out of town to be with my wife’s family on Christmas when the snow flakes appeared in the rearview mirror.
Not to worry, we thought. It might snow enough for one kid per neighborhood to make a snowball.
But we were wrong. It snowed deep and long and nobody could believe that it came on Christmas Day.
Our only evidence is a snapshot that still sticks to our refrigerator with magnets.
It was taken from across the street, but now it seems like came from across the galaxy.
Our neighbor James Ellis, then a little boy, still stands frozen in time in his front yard in a blizzard with a snowball in his hand. His dear late mother, Margold, was, of course, somehow prepared. Her kid had red pants, a thick overcoat and what looks like snake boots.
All he needed was a hill and a sled, but I bet an inner tube and a good push did just fine in that land of make believe.
That was 1989, the year we got blasted by Hurricane Hugo. With Hurricane Matthew’s visit this year, maybe the radioactive ingredients are just right for it to snow again on Christmas Day.
When alligators sing.