Maybe I am just noticing it more, but it seems that snow is on the increase everywhere. One is tempted to joke about global warming. The other day someone asked where Al Gore was with all these frigid temperatures and snow. I replied maybe he was hiding in a pile of snow. Truth is, I don’t understand the whole global warming thing and take a very simple approach to these things. As the song says Que Sera Sera, whatever will be, will be. I do my part to reduce, reuse, and recycle. That’s about all any one individual can do.
I have at least two “hometowns.” One, of course, is my beloved Brooklyn. The other is Columbia, Missouri. I love them both but in different ways. Both have some wonderful memories as well as some pretty sad and awful ones. I have snow memories from both hometowns as well. I’ve written about Brooklyn snow and you can find it here.
I am thinking about Columbia snow today because I see on Facebook that Columbia got a lot of snow and is getting more. One of the first times I drove in snow was in Columbia. I was a late driver. I didn’t get my first license until I was married with two children and 19 years of age. I was living in North Carolina. A mature neighbor of 30 saw herself in me and told me I could use her car anytime to learn to drive. It was just enough to give me courage and shortly I was at the testing station at Fort Bragg. Second try and I had a license. There’s a story there too, but I’ll save it for another time.
I drove a 69 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser station wagon that I purchased for $300. It was after my beloved 69 Volkswagen had been put to rest. It was a luxurious tank. It was also rear wheel drive. It was great for the three kids who could crawl all over the “back-back.” The car was terrible in snow. I was a single woman with no clue how to put chains on the tires so I fishtailed everywhere. One time, in a snow storm in Columbia, I was trying to maneuver Hitt Street near the Brewer Field House heading to the Medical Center. I shudder to think of all the cars my fishtailing hit. I just kept going.
Another time I took that car to run away to visit a friend at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. I don’t know how I made it alive as I fishtailed south onto back roads finding her home. I was running away from love. I was scared. I was falling in love. I had been hurt so badly before that the most logical thing to do was just run. We’d dated less than a year. Marriage was discussed. Fear of being hurt as well as other critical factors caused me to run and hide.
The snow kept coming that year in Columbia. Eventually I made my way back to Columbia. I lived in the projects but to me it was a glorious 3 bedroom townhouse apartment. It was early February. That year, like this, Columbia got a fresh dump of snow. Another foot was added to what was on the ground. It was so bad that even the University of Missouri cancelled classes. In my project apartment, I was making Spanish rice with hamburger in it. The electric skillet was hot and the aroma filled the apartment. It was a cozy snowy day.
There was a knock at the door. Shocked, there stood the man I was running from. He lived nearly 3 miles from the Columbia Square Apartments. He had no car. There was no sign of a cab and the buses weren’t running. How did he get there? Why was he there? He was there because he loved me. He was there because he walked those 3 miles stopping only once at a grocery store to buy early valentines candy for my children and I. He smiled and said, “I didn’t want you to not have a Valentine.” This was only his 3rd Valentine’s Day as his native Pakistan didn’t celebrate this day of love. Like something out of a romance novel, there stood the man I loved and ran from, shivering from a long walk in the snow, just to give me candy for Valentine’s Day. I knew then, I couldn't run anymore. I was caught.
That was 33 years ago. I wish I remembered the exact day. I do remember that by February 14th we had decided to get married. By February 25th, the snow had melted along with my fears. I said “I do.” He said “I do.” We still say “I do” today. Snow is a wonderful thing. It brought me the love of my life.