As you settle down to read this column, chances are that not a speck of snow or ice left is in our part of the world. But as I settled down just a few days ago to write it, the scene was a whole lot different.
Even after two 60-plus degree days, my drive home from Knoxville last Sunday was shocking. The I-40 median in Cumberland County was still blanketed in white. Near Monterey, enormous icicles hung from the sheer cliff walls. In my own backyard, patches of sleet lay where the trees grow particularly thick. A friend who lives in the heart of town told me his front steps were still too slick to walk on. Most surprising were the mountains of scraped-up snow on top of a parking garage in Nashville when I visited there on Monday.
Dressed in lightweight pants and a t-shirt, I took my dogs for a walk on Tuesday morning. And on that walk I figured out why winter just wouldn’t go away.
We’ve practically invited it to stay.
One neighbor had two cute resin snowmen flanking her front door. A concrete penguin with a red scarf around his neck stood by a mailbox just up the road. Doormats were adorned with snowflakes or cardinals on frosty pine trees. A decorative garden flag said LET IT SNOW!!!! It was enough to make me want to slip a note in these offenders’ mailboxes asking them to please, please, please get out the spring decorations.
And then I looked around my own house and discovered that I was no less guilty.
My own doormat featured an entire family of snow people—father, mother, brother, sister. I once thought them adorable. Now I found them totally obnoxious. Braided blue ribbons with jingle bells attach hung on the knob of the door leading to my side porch. A plastic soap dispenser shaped like a jolly polar bear nestled beside the bathroom sink.
I put a pot of coffee on to brew and opened the cabinet to pull out a mug. Yikes. I found not one, not two, not three, but four coffee mugs sporting winter scenes. (And to think I wrote a column just a few weeks ago about culling my mug collection!)
Not surprisingly, my closet was the worst offender. Though I’d put away all my Christmas clothes–including one “tacky Christmas sweater” just in case I got invited to such a party, which I didn’t—there were still plenty of clothes inappropriate for March in the south. A sweatshirt adorned with a retro picture of a young woman skiing down a mountain. A red polar fleece jacket covered in gigantic blue snowflakes. Even the t-shirt I’d worn on my walk featured a dog wearing a pair of reindeer antlers.
And I’d failed to move my winter-themed socks to the back of the drawer. There was Snoopy on ice skates. Cats wearing stocking caps. More penguins and polar bears.
Into a box every one of these accursed items went. I taped it shut and wrote DON’T OPEN UNTIL WINTER 2016 on top. Then I shoved it into the far back corner of the storage closet. From another box I pulled out two pairs of flip-flops, a sun visor and—even though I know this is rushing things a bit—my favorite swimsuit.
The official start of spring is almost a week away. But when it gets here, I’ll be ready.
(March 15, 2015)