On January 28, 2014, thousands of Atlanta commuters became stranded on the interstate in two inches of snow and ice. Many mocked, pointed fingers, shifted blame and acted entirely unsouthern as the rest of the world watched (and giggled) while city-slickers struggled to get home. Saturday Night Live even featured Atlanta in a skit. It is a must-watch. Click the link here. The skit is funny because the first vehicle in the ditch near my house was a white “Esca-lada.”
The forecast for Wednesday isn’t pretty. Forecasters are predicting a “catastrophic event.” I learned today the term means that the National Weather Service expects ice so thick that emergency crews can not rescue you, should you loose your mind and hit the highways tomorrow. Hundreds of National Guardsmen are on standby, ready to take those with medical needs to the hospital.
Atlanta residents are being told to “hunker down” as this ice storm has decided to test our resilience and storm preparation once again. Governor Nathan Deal has spoken, as has Mayor Kasim Reed. The messages is clear, “by midnight on Tuesday, be in a location and plan on staying at that location for two days.” Citizens are being warned to gather provisions, firewood, water, batteries and food. This time, with the world watching, residents are paying attention. It’s our time to show people that Atlanta folk aren’t a bunch of city-sissies.
We do however want winter to end. A few hours ago #endwinternow was trending on Twitter.
Even the School Administrators have taken notice, cancelling classes (although it should be mentioned that students will have to make up these classes. Atlanta does not have snow days built into the schedule). Companies have sent their employees home, encouraging them to work from home if possible.
So instead of being snowed out of our homes, this time we are snowed in. And when snowed in there is really only one thing we can do . . .
Under the advisement of elected officials, we visited the grocery store and piled buggies high with important provisions: milk, bread, bananas, and BACON! We waited in line patiently for gas, bought cat litter (even though we don’t have a feline in our home). We filled the bathtub with water, piled firewood at the door, and made a mad dash to the bookstore because Governor Deal told everyone, “this ice storm is a perfect chance to read a good book.”
You’ve gotta appreciate a Governor who uses an ice storm to promote reading.
The people of Atlanta are hunkered.
My Western North Carolina people are hunkering experts. I grew up with a pantry full of tomatoes, green beans and corn all ready should an emergency arise. In less than twenty minutes the women in my family could whip up a pot of vegetable soup big enough to feed a crew of linemen tasked with restoring power.
We did that many times, fed the power company men. We prayed for them too. We still do today.
Yesterday, neither the Gov’nah, nor the Mayor needed to tell me to get ready. While my husband said, “What’s the big deal? It’s going to be above freezing on Thursday,” I stacked wood, unloaded groceries, and placed water bottles in the freezer. At my house everything is ready.
I am sufficiently hunkered.
So today, while some residents made that last mad dash to the grocery store to purchase hot dog buns (because bread was gone two days ago), this little mountain girl put on a pot of beans.
Slice onions, sprinkle with Tabasco and pop in the microwave for two minutes
Whatever you call them, they taste the same . . . delicious.
This bowl made even more delicious with a layer of spicy onion and a wedge of cornbread.
So tell me dear ones, what are you cooking up fpr this winter storm?
If you’re snowed in like the rest of us, I would be honored if you’d download a copy of my work. Visit the links below
Renea Winchester is the award-winning author of Mountain Memories: True Stories and Half-Truths from Appalachia. Her first book, In the Garden with Billy: Lessons About Life, Love & Tomatoes earned her a SIBA and GAYA nomination. In 2014, Mercer University Press will release her next book titled Farming, Friends, and Fried Bologna Sandwiches. Email her through her website at www.reneawinchester.com