Tag Archives: snow

Thoughts on the Olympics

I’m not entirely sure why I’m so enthralled every four years when the winter Olympics play out. The competition amongst the young athletes is so invigorating and I love to become acquainted with the setting too–the snowy mountains, the palatial buildings, the side stories. My loyalty is pumped up to a high level as I pull for our very own contenders. And I just love to see the snow from the safety of my own living room! I cannot imagine myself every slicing up one side of a huge “pipe” and landing just barely on the lip to swoop back down and up again. But it’s fun to watch someone who is so daring! So–I’m a vicarious athlete!

My favorite venue is figure skating but I enjoy the fantastic skiiers, the crazy bobsledders, and the fast, so fast, speed skaters.I love to see those who have worked for years win their medals. And I can cry for those who worked so hard and ended up way down the list. I can get wrapped up in watching each one’s moves as the commentator describes their tiny, but costly mistakes or applauds their landings from four tumbles in the air to standing firm and skiing on down the slope.

But one of the best parts is the story of each Olympian. Some are truly Cinderella stories as kids from a humble background began working out as first graders or third graders and developed a dream. Behind each one is someone who particularly pushed them to stay focused on that dream, someone who kept telling them they could, someone who inspired and always, always stood behind them. Such a one was Katie Uhlaender whose Dad understood her passion for slicing down an icy, twisting track at 80 miles an hour, headfirst in the skeleton venue. You can read her story leading up to the Olympics in my favorite magazine, Guideposts, their February edition. Read how when her dad died, she thought she could no longer compete and then how she had a comeback.

So, for whatever reason this 71-year-old woman really gets “turned on” by the Olympics. I love the challenging, victorious music, I love the excitement of competition, I love to hear stories of the Olylmpian heroes, including those who didn’t win the gold as they’d so hoped. For instance, there was the brother who won bronze instead of gold but whose tears were not because of winning less than hoped but because his beloved brother had recently died. Or what about the brother whose great victory (I think he won Gold) was shared with his brother there in Russia in a passionate bear hug? That brother was the one who pushed him from the sidelines, the same brother who can’t himself compete because he has cerebral palsy.

No, I’m no athlete, never was and never will be (unless in heaven God puts me on a snowboard and sprinkles me with special power) BUT–watching these athletes do their very best makes me want to do the best with whatever I am “into.” If I’m knitting, I want to make every stitch right where it’s supposed to be! If I’m cooking, I want to turn out delectable dishes! If I’m being a friend, I want to do my best to be the friend God wants me to be. That’s what it’s all about!

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Our Snowy South

A Two-Day Diary

Tuesday, January 28

8:30 a.m.–Cairo, GA–heavy cloud cover, not much mention of our receiving precipitation here near the Florida line. They think maybe Albany, sixty miles north may get a touch of snow, and we might get a little sleet. For a 71-year-old who still has a kid’s excitement over snow I have to be content with a day that looks like snow. I grew up in Clarkesville in north Georgia where we did usually have two or three snows each winter, a few really nice big ones, thick enough to slide downhill on an opened box, make snow ice cream, and wage snowball wars. The last snow we had here in Cairo was about three years ago, beautiful falling through our tall pines, dusting every holly leaf and making the cats look very mystified. Our grandson, fifteen then, got his first real look at the cold stuff and he loved it!

10:00 a.m.–I received a voicemail from my son in Alabama where he’s on his day’s trek serving veterinarians. “Hey, Mom, just checking in with you on the weather. It’s snowing where I am, but they don’t think it’s going to be much more than a dusting. I hear you’re going to get lots more. I know you’d love that so I’m hoping for it.” I said, “Oh-h-h-h….”

2:15 p.m.–I talked to Will this time. He said he’s in a mess of traffic trying to get back into Birmingham and make it to Mattie’s day care. “The way it’s looking I won’t be able to make it home. I’ll be staying with Mattie at the church. Several other families will be staying also. There are thousands of people out here on the interstate just sitting in their cars like me.”

3:00–I called Christi to see how she’s doing, got no answer.

4:30–Christi called back. She’s been on Highway 280 since just after 10:00 this morning trying to make the usual 30-minute trip to their house. She realized it wasn’t going to be just the dusting as predicted and did stop and gas up. “If I can get close enough, I’ll just walk the rest of the way.” “Oh, my,” I said, “I hope you’re warmly dressed. Do you have on good shoes?” In her quiet reassuring voice she said, “I bought some fuzzy socks at the gas station and some better gloves and I have the warm cozy wrap you made me for Christmas. And, yes, I wore boots today instead of heels.” “What about the boys?” I ask. “Our next-door neighbor, Mr. Sorrells has gone to the school to walk them home. They’ll stay with him until I get there.”

5:30–I called Will. He’s on the last steep hill approaching Highlands United Methodist’s street. But he’s one of thousands and they’re at a standstill. “I would walk on up there. It’s only about a mile. But I can’t park. I’ve talked to Christi. She’s still struggling to get to a decent turn-off from 280 where she can get close to home.”

My prayers increase. I walk from window to window watching dark come and knowing that it gets dark much earlier where my kids are out on those treacherous snowy roads. I add tomatoes and cabbage to a nice beef stir-fry, then set some rice to simmering. I wish strongly that I could feed my poor cold kids when they arrive at home, and then I pray again: Lord, please bring them home!

7:00–Will calls to say he’s made it to the church. As Charles, Charles D and I eat stir-fry and rice we talk about the weather there and here. Still no sign of snow for us. We may get rain mixed with sleet about midnight. We say a prayer of thanksgiving that Will at least is safe and sound, he and Mattie.

8:30–Christi’s now abandoned her car on the side of the road, has found a ride in a pickup truck closer to home, still not there. Has arrived at a friend’s house where she may spend the night. I picture the winding dark streets, so very, very steep, on the way from 280 to her house,  and I shudder.

We go to bed, praying for our Alabama kids especially much, hoping they’re all safe and sound, though separated in three different locations. And, yes, we do pray for the thousands of people displaced on this snowy night in the south.

 Wednesday,January 29–

5:00 a.m.–I waken to the sound of a soft rattle against window panes. Out the bathroom window I see the barn roof is white in the street lamp.

6:30–It’s light enough to see the white stuff clinging to holly leaves, icicles hanging from each leaf, white ice on deck and deck chairs, the bird bath frozen solid. Charles D is very disappointed there was no snow but thrilled that, because of the ice, the schools are closed today. We discuss the white stuff. I tell him it’s what we always called hominy snow in north Georgia. Here, it’s simply considered ice even if it is white and comes down in granules. Either way, it’s beautiful!

And treacherous.

9:00 a.m. I learn that Christi didn’t stay in that friend’s house. Her mother’s heart drove her to get out and walk toward home. She arrived within a mile when she called Mr. Sorrells. He loaded William, 10, and Thomas, 6, into his four-wheel jeep and went to rescue their mother from the “side of the mountain.”

2:00, p.m.–I call and get William who very happily launches into his own description of their last 24 hours. He and Thomas had a really fun walk through the snow getting home Tuesday, only slid on their bottoms a few times. They had a little bit of a scary time going with Mr. Sorrells to rescue their mom. “The jeep started sliding and Mr. Sorrels had to stop and back up and try again. When we slid to the edge of the road I was a little scared. But then we found Mama and brought her home. And, Nana, this is the best part. When we got near our house, guess what we saw?” (Big pause. I couldn’t guess.) “We saw a buck standing in the road, a big, big buck with huge antlers. I’ve never seen one like that,” he said in awe.

I asked William about his dad and Mattie. “Well, they’re probably going to have to stay another night at the church,” he said solemnly. “The roads are pretty bad. Oh, and Nana, did you know this part? My mom lost her phone in the snow. We went back to where she thought she dropped it this morning but we couldn’t find it. Then Pop called from Gadsden and said someone had called him and said they found my mom’s phone and they’d put it in their mailbox for her to pick up. We just got back from hunting for that mailbox. But we did find it and it was a miracle! Her phone really was in that mailbox!” I could tell he was winded from telling me this long tale. But he had one more note. “Nana, we’re all tired so we’re going to rest. About thirty minutes maybe. Then I’m going out to play in the snow!”

A boy after my own heart!

5:30–Will called. He and Mattie made it home. He says the day care cook was stranded with them at the church so they ate very well. Sleeping wasn’t so good on the floor! But they were thankful for the warm, safe place. So very thankful now to be all home, all together again!



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Alabama Snow

Alabama Snow

This photo was taken by my son another time, another place. It seems appropriate right now as C-O-L-D is gripping much of our nation. Even the sunny south is shivering in single digit temps part of the time, though most of us have yet to see snow! My son travels over central Alabama selling pharmaceutical supplies to veterinarians. He took this in a park one day, I believe, where he’s stopped for some exercise. He sends me both digital pictures and gives me vocal descriptions of the places he sees. A “cool” way to keep in touch!

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January 22, 2014 · 9:08 pm