Memphis has a lot. Beale Street, blues, and barbeque are our holy trinity. If there’s one thing Memphis is not known for, it’s snow. We’re lucky to get a dusting of powder once or twice a year. Anything more than a half-inch has news stations sounding the alarms and warning viewers of the impending SNOWPOCALYPSE.
So when I got to the great icy north, I had a huge winter coat and snow boots and Pop-Tarts for days, ready to brave the polar vortex. In winter I dreamt of massive snowdrifts blocking doorways and trapping us in our dorm. When I oversaw a game of Mafia for my friend group, I got way too into the “cabin fever during a blizzard” round. Maybe I had high hopes that I’d suddenly gain a wealth of survival knowledge and lead a rough n’ tumble group of survivors in a post-apocalyptic winter world.
In a cruel twist of fate, all those hopes were dashed by a surprising dearth of snow. This past winter was rather mild. Yes, there were a few days when we woke to a hearty blanket of white, but there wasn’t as much snow as my Memphis friends predicted. However! There was one wonderful March day when the snow came down.
It was a Tuesday. Two of my three back-to-back morning classes were cancelled, which was fantastic…until I had to slip, trip, and stumble thirty minutes through six inches of mostly-untouched snow to my third class. My visions of an idyllic winter wonderland were clearly misinformed. That afternoon, my friends got together and decided to go sledding. Now, being college students with limited storage space, none of us actually had sleds—we swiped some trays from the dining hall instead. (What is it with my friends and stealing Sharples trays?)
For a few in our group, it was their first time ever seeing snow! We were out for an hour or so, taking turns sledding down the huge hill by McCabe Library. Other students and even local families had the same idea; there were people of all ages slipping and sliding and wiping out all over the hill, tossing their trays up for others to use. After everyone was a bit tired of sledding, we had a snowball fight. Cliché, but wonderful nevertheless. I have horrible aim, so I spent most of my time dodging rather than pitching. Afterwards, I arranged a little group photo (it’s my responsibility, as the mom friend, to take as many group photos as possible).
By this time, the hill had been, well, “ruined” is a bit strong, but it certainly was no longer ideal for sledding. So after a short break indoors, a few of us who still wanted to sled went to the hill by Clothier Memorial Tower and had a race! I managed to completely soak my pants in the snow within a few minutes, so I cheered on the sidelines.
In the end, we were pretty much frozen solid and all snowed out. As it happens, that freak snowstorm was winter’s singular death throe, and spring settled in soon afterwards. I think I’ve sufficiently recovered, at least enough to say I will probably start keeping a tray or two in my room, for whenever the need arises this winter.