Admit it, folks. When Eddie Sheerr told us, in the days leading up to December 24th, that this past Christmas would be a white one, most of us were pretty excited. Many, like yours truly, were scheduled to work that day, or at least part of it before the city all but shut down as buckets of the white stuff fell from the sky and blanketed the ground.
What wasn’t whipped and swirled around obscuring windshield views of the usually hectic eve-before-Christmas world piled picturesquely on top of tree branches, as adorable to the eye as a freshly powdered newborn baby’s bottom. Snow coated red, blue and green carefully strung outdoor lights, allowing just enough illumination to twinkle through the white to make even the coldest heart feel good will towards all.
Extras for emergencies
Moms let the last minute groceries slide and the scatter few boxes of Pot of Gold usually picked up last minute for emergency gift giving were left on store shelves. Planned liquor cabinet stocking extras for emergencies like unscheduled, and often unwanted, drop-ins remained where they were to ‘cause no one could drive where it was at.
Males steered well clear of the mall, their annual last minute shopping rendezvous terminated, and shovelled themselves senseless before cuddling their loved ones instead. The usual Christmas Day hectic visits to nan’s third cousin twice removed were canned as meals with relatives no one really liked much anyway were called off and families stayed put.
The world outside windows painted a quaint, peaceful picture as freshly-fallen snow instantly beautifies everything it touches. A weather-mandated quiet Christmas was good for the soul.
And then, snowmageddon. We all had warning, thanks to our beloved national treasure of a weatherman. Schools and work places closed and plan-ahead parents stocked up on essentials as the then predicted 2-day-long storm loomed. But not everything can be planned for.
Murphy’s Law plays cruel jokes on the best and the worst of us, and snow blowers working perfectly the day before a storm can suddenly go clunk, rattle, kaput instead of roaring like a lion or purring like a kitten, depending on the model, as ours did.
My son and I shovelled our way out of the house so we could stand on top of the cars in our driveway staring, in awe, at the mightiest dumping of white we’d ever witnessed. But that wasn’t the only wonderment to behold.
Neighbour helping neighbour before tending to their own mountain of snow. Resources as well as smiles shared. Folks remaining good-natured facing a very badly behaved mommy dearest of a mother-nature. Newfoundlanders, during one of their mightiest challenges, embraced our legendary ‘oh well, b’ys’ attitude.
From turning snow drifts into tiki bars to rewarding the mighty military with homemade bread sandwiches, to leaving out tins of tuna and carnation milk in make-shift ‘need something/take something’ free-food for the needy spots, Newfoundlanders, as we are known for, were at our finest when things were at their worst.
Only a Newfoundlander can make something like a state of emergency and snowmageddon feel like a day on the beach. Or at least a few hours in a makeshift snow drift-carved tiki bar. Kindness, to so many of us raised here in this province, is like the snow that fell last Christmas Eve; it beautifies everything it covers.
Pam Pardy Ghent, The Herald’s Managing Editor, can be reached by emailing [email protected]