MARLBORO MUSINGS:  Snow? Let It Snow! Old School Style…


Close but no cigar.

That pretty well sums up our brush with winter weather last Friday night and Saturday. After days of forecasts and internet and media rumblings about the high probability of precipitation – most likely snow, at least according to most forecasts – most local lovers of the white stuff were not only ready for the proverbial cigar, we had our lighters and ashtrays out. We were pumped and primed, anxious to see those flakes start falling and piling.

But, alas, about all most of Marlboro received was a long, cold, windy rain throughout the night and into Saturday, followed by some backside sleet and snow as the storm system pulled away to the northeast, leaving just enough of a dusting to tease us about winter’s possibilities, what might could await us in the near future. Maybe. Meanwhile, just an hour so north and west of us, as the crow flies, some communities received measurable snows.

Close but no cigar, snow lovers. Dang it.

But it happens; you can’t do a thing about Mother Nature’s plans, where she draws the rain/snow line, or which side you might happen to be on. And neither can anyone do anything with me once I’ve heard that the term “snow” has been mentioned in our forecast. You don’t think that I’m a snow freak? Then just walk up and tell me that you’ve heard that snow is in the forecast. Then step back and watch as I get all edgy and half loopy trying to confirm that as a real possibility. I’m as bad as any kid you’ve ever seen.

And should you choose to question my snow “cred,” I offer as proof the fact that when I was a youngster the Bostick family owned not one, but two, snow sleds. And I remember being a young kid here in Bennettsville and joining with others – often including adults – in sledding down hills all over town, including behind the Courthouse, the Old Hospital hill, the Methodist Church hill, and out at the Bennettsville Elementary School, using sleds, garbage can lids, cardboard, and all kinds of make-do winter daredevil gear. I’ve wiped out all over this town, and we never even thought about a helmet, only ways that we could make that thing go faster.

It really was a kinder and gentler time. Stupider, too.

Given the forecast of near-certain snow by morning this past Friday night, I was pretty well doomed to practically wearing out a pair of shoes going back and forth from window to sofa looking for the first flakes to start falling. I must have gone to the door and looked out to check on things at least three dozen times. Of course, Mom taught me that you can’t just look out into the night if you want to see those small flakes; you have to turn your head just right, maybe even block off the actual streetlight and only look into its glow. Sometimes you may even have to close one eye and then look at it kinda half sideways. (See what I’m telling you, I know all the tricks. Been there; done that.) Occasionally I would even walk out under the carport, or onto the porch just to make certain that I wasn’t missing anything.

In between trips to check for flakes I was checking radars and Facebook and Intellicast and JohnKassellWX and switching DirecTV channels…when it hit me: I liked the older, stupider way better. Way better, in fact.

Here I was with all this information at hand – up-to-the-minute animated, color-coded, radar maps; umpteen professional forecasters – half of them talking about Snowmaggedon and doing live, on-scene reports from some threatened city; non-stop TV media overblown coverage of grocery stores selling out as though ISIS was attacking; by Friday afternoon kids ALREADY knew school would at a minimum be delayed on Monday; 200+ TV channels at my ready; a handheld computer/phone that could reach anywhere around the world I wished – and all I really wanted at that point, which was near dawn after a long night, was to see it snow, like it did when I was a kid next door.

And not only were those times kinder and gentler, but they were also much simpler. The information superhighway is great – if you’re in the market for information, that is. But as far as I’m concerned, it needs a whole lot more rest areas. Personally, I’m about to the point of information overload.

I was thinking Friday night while on “snow watch” about how different things were for us as kids, particularly with regard to snow days. Foremost, nobody – adults nor kids – really knew what the weather was going to be much beyond 3-4 days out back then, simply because forecasters really couldn’t tell them with any degree of certainty. (And given the lack of snow this weekend, that ability, or lack thereof, is still debatable. But I digress.)

Regardless, as kids we usually didn’t even know that we might be getting snow until maybe a couple days or so before it was to happen, when we’d start to hear little bits and pieces about it on, at our house, our local AM radio station, WBSC 1550, or one of the two Florence TV stations we could pick up.

Then once we were aware that possible snow was in the immediate forecast, we’d stay up as late as allowed watching for it, then my brother and sister and I would all wake up early to see if it had snowed any overnight, or to hopefully actually see it snowing, and then fight over who got to stand in front of the gas heater in the kitchen while we waited on WBSC to announce whether or not local schools were going to be closed. The loser would have to wrap up in a blanket and watch the local school closing notices creep across the bottom of the screen. All of us with our fingers crossed, mom and pop, too.

There was little else that sounded better or that I more enjoyed in the winters of my youth than hearing Mr. Ken Harmon’s booming voice, or that of Mr. Jim Wood or Rich Gehm, over a transistor radio saying, “Repeating…all Marlboro County schools will be closed today due to snow…” airing the good news out to all of Marlboro County from WBSC.

Yep, those were the good ol’ days. Back when we didn’t have ten-day forecasts or 30-day outlooks, or The Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore, or 24/7 text message weather alerts on our ever-present cell phones. Back when we didn’t have Google to give us in 30 seconds a link to the answer to any question we might possibly dream. Back when school officials didn’t have to worry about busing kids from all corners of the county to one centrally located high school, rather than five schools just a few miles from any student’s home. Back when they didn’t have to be concerned about being sued by George Sink or Akim Anastapoulo if something went wrong in doing so.

You remember, back when we didn’t have much at all. Except each others back. And fun.

Time marches on.

Nevertheless, two of the best things about a weather event such as we…shall we say, “enjoyed,” together through social media Friday night and Saturday is that (1) it at least provided a distraction, of a sort, at least, from the Trump/Russian hacking deal and the kidnap/torture video sadness in Chicago, as well as yet another senseless and tragic gun-related massacre in Florida and, (2), better yet, it leaves us, again, pumped and primed and sitting on ready for the next possible snow.

Remember: It’s only middle January; keep the faith.

And let it snow.



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