I could tell Chub doubted my wisdom when he said, "Good thing I got the snow tires on this week." A few times I considered turning back, but I was scheduled to read something to my writers’ group that night.So I drove on, slowly, etching the beauty of that night into my memory.
As a child, I had to hide my delight when it snowed because dad had extra work, trudging through it to care for the cows and other animals. The milk cows had a daily ration of crushed corn, wheat bran and a sprinkling of cotton seed meal and salt. The others scrounged for nibbling-grass and ate the hay he hauled to them. Then they’d bed down on the coarse hay stems. Dad wasn’t all that happy about a big snow.
After the meeting, I found the snow had ended and heavy limbs almost touched the thick white blanket on city lawns. In the streets, the deep snow had been churned over and over till it looked like gray ice cream. The wind was behaving itself, and the snow stayed put without drifting. I drove slowly and cautiously out toward the farm.
As I turned from the blacktop onto our gravel road, I saw that few cars had driven this route since the snow began. All of the tracks were in the middle of the road. I followed the tracks for the next two miles. My neighbors’ homes were dark. Everyone was asleep in a warm bed. But I figured that Chub was up, watching for my car lights, worrying.
But I didn’t hurry.
Turning left at the mailbox corner, I stopped to stare ahead. There was an untouched white strip between two rows of weed tops. Nothing had disturbed the blanket of snow. No vehicle tracks. No human footprints. No deer or raccoon or rabbit or bird. Reluctantly, I began to break the trail - in the middle, of course.
Perhaps my earlier tracks were the last tracks of the night? What a great thing, to have lived where a 7 o’clock snow is still undisturbed three hours later.
Driving slowly around Red Bud Bend, I passed our bee yard, where thousands of three-banded Italians were semi-motionless for the winter months. I soon saw our Christmas lights in the distance. Yes, Chub was watching - the carport lights came on suddenly. As I turned into our driveway, cow eyes reflected from the woods where they were bedded down.
Our driveway was a narrow white ribbon between pasture fences. A little branch of a creek trickled across the road at the bottom of the hill, on its way to New Orleans. I stepped out of the carport for one last look at what a city girl once called "the planetarium over your farm."
The thought struck me that even my dad would have loved this snowy night.