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Cold weather surprise

With the onset of another winter season, I am reminded of a long string of weather oddities I have experienced in my lifetime. One of the most memorable occurred in 1939 when I was 4 years old. 

As a sharecropper family, we lived less than a mile east of the Clay/Randolph County line on a large farm owned and operated by one of my father’s brothers. We were there to make a crop on shares for one year while our father was awaiting the opening of a public job in Etowah County.  

Our house had seen its best day, to say the least. It had no underpinning, no floor covering, no electricity and no plumbing. In my mind, its biggest asset was a clear water creek that rushed by a few steps from the front door. 

A pool of foot-deep eddy water, where the stream intersected with a dirt road, provided a safe water hole for me, my older sister and younger brother to play in as well as meet our family’s potable water needs.  

It also provided a convenient watering place for local farmers who used the dirt road for travel. They would stop their teams in the creek and let them drink before continuing their journey. It was also a favorite spot for field workers to take a break and cool off and gave motorists a drive-in car wash. 

A nighttime game my younger brother and I played in our double bed was to shift our positions to catch a glimpse of stars shining through the cracks in the tin top roof that covered an open attic.  

Much to our surprise one cold, winter morning, we awoke to discover a thin coat of snow on top of the quilt we slept under. We rushed to the front porch to get a closer look and jumped up and down in excitement over witnessing our first snowfall.  

After a buttered biscuit and sorghum syrup breakfast, us kids wrapped up and enjoyed playing in the falling snow.  

Later, my older sister walked to the school bus stop 200 yards away, accompanied by our father and me. Both she and I struggled to walk in the snow but reveled in making and throwing our first snowballs.  

Later that day, we were treated to our first sampling of homemade snow ice cream.