‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, the A/C was running because we lived in the South.
That’s right, winter season in Central Pennsylvania as a Southern Yankee is a magical time. Born and raised in Texas, I have an overwhelming fascination with snow.
A Texas Christmas/winter usually means brown grass and cold winds. (Unless you live in the Panhandle; then you can get some good snow accumulation, but that’s another story.) When Texas has a “snowstorm”—what my Yankee friends call a “dusting” of snow—everything comes to a grinding halt: schools shut down, appointments are cancelled and the local grocer sells out of milk and bread.
I can still recall my first Christmas in Pennsylvania, the beautiful evergreens and the wonderful sparkling snowflakes. Yes, I am that person you see taking pictures in the snow!
But there are a few snow how-tos I had to learn quickly.
First, I wanted to master the skill of building the perfect snowman, which looked easy enough.
Looks, as the saying goes, are deceiving.
No one told me I had to build a snowman with the “right kind of snow”. I thought the right kind was “Christmas snow,” just like Frosty said. Boy, was I wrong. My first snowman looked more like Jabba the Hutt than Frosty.
The second snow skill is the art of sledding.
My first sledding experience was me dressed in jeans, t-shirt, jean jacket and cotton mittens. You see, during a Texas “Snowmagedon” (two inches or less), we wear fashionable-not-practical winter attire.
That doesn’t work in Pennsylvania.
I realize now that there is actual “snow gear” that includes waterproof clothing. Having that knowledge would have made my first time sledding much more enjoyable.
Another thing I didn’t realize about sledding is that steering a sled is quite difficult. And just a word of advice for other first-timers: Don’t choose the huge hill that will lead to the farmer’s corn field; those stalks look pliable, but they are not.
I also chose the largest hill so I could sled the fastest and longest route possible. It was only until reaching the bottom that I was confronted with the merciless law that cannot be overruled by any Texas Ranger: What goes downhill doesn’t necessarily go up–or, at least not without great effort.
But hiking back up to sled again was so worth it!
Before I moved to Pennsylvania, the only blizzards I’d experienced in Texas were at Dairy Queen. Now, I love the snow! I’m so glad I can experience winter again each season and have my Dairy Queen too!
My first snow (approximately 1987) taken at our Texas home. Me to the left and my brother at the right. See what I mean about clothing? Who wears a dress and makes a snowman? By the way, that snowman was made by my brother and I gathering all the snow available in our yard that is full of brown grass. It only lasted a few hours.
Laura Page is a self-proclaimed “Southern Yankee” and invites readers to experience the lifestyles, culture, places and happenings within Central Pennsylvania through the eyes of a Texas girl. Email Laura at [email protected]mm