No Dreaming: It Was a White Christmas

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Christmas morning began with lightning and thunder and a much-needed rain sweeping in from the west, the noise waking me about 3 a.m. I got up for a few minutes to admire the flashes of light illuminating the trees from the second-story window, watching the sheets of rain sweep across the deck. Then I crawled back into bed to attempt to catch a few more hours of sleep.

There are no longer small children in the house eager to awaken before daylight even hints at arriving on Christmas morning — just a teenager who wants to open presents, but she is willing to sleep in a bit before doing so. So I dozed off to the sound of rain on the rooftop, though each rolling peal of thunder roused me. Such is the sleep of the middle-aged, not that I’m complaining. At least not on Christmas morning.

My Beautiful Mystery Companion and I rise early even on non-work days. I was out under the umbrella trying to persuade Rosie the Wonder Dog to quickly take care of business before 7 as the skies opened, and lightning continued to crackle. Rosie doesn’t like rain, is even less fond of pyrotechnics, and is scared witless by thunder, so I had to drag her out. I think she actually faked going potty just to get me off her case. She’s pretty smart for a dog.

We had a passel of folks arriving for Christmas lunch, with three long tables set up in the dining room. The rain and wind continue unabated as people arrived, carrying dishes of food. As usual, grub arrived to feed twice as many of us for a solid week, in that vaunted East Texas family holiday tradition. And as usual, I ate enough to come close to feeling miserable. Dessert would have to wait, though both my BMC’s pecan pie with dark chocolate morsels, and Miss Geneva’s coconut cream pie were calling my name. I would eventually succumb to both, just as soon as I could move without waddling. Nobody makes better pecan or coconut cream pie than those two women.

I checked the weather. The wind stilled whipped about. The temperature kept dropping. Someone reported it was snowing in Sulphur Springs, 85 miles northwest of our town. The temperature here was holding steady at 45 degrees. Snow seemed unlikely, though we all kept hoping for a white Christmas, something I can’t recall occurring in Longview. Snow falls most years at one point or another, but not on Christmas day. It snowed on Easter nearly six years ago, in April no less. Nearly six inches carpeted the city in February 2008 — the first year I moved back to Longview.

At one point it looked as if blue sky was going to break out, while we opened presents and enjoyed the warmth of the living room fire. But then it clouded back over and began to rain again. The temperature kept dropping. Reports came back of snow falling in Tyler. Our company began heading home, since most of them lived north and worried about slick roads.

Before dusk, the first flurries began to appear while we still had a few guests. We all cheered and went outside. It was actually raining and snowing at the same time. Well, at least we could say it snowed on Christmas, though it certainly wasn’t likely it would stick, wet as it was.

Still the snow came, now in fat flakes as the last of our family left. I took Rosie outside once more. She again balked, this time at the white stuff now starting to cover the ground and stick to our vehicles. The dog doesn’t like change. I guess she’s a Republican.

By late evening, it was official. We were having a White Christmas, the first in Longview since 1919, the paper reported a few days later. And two days later, snow still hangs to the tree limbs and rooftops outside my study window, a peaceful, beautiful scene. It is made even more lovely by the knowledge that it will be gone before sunset. Having been raised a Yankee, I have no desire to spend extended periods with this stuff. But it sure was sweet to spend a couple days at Christmas with snow on the ground, decorating the trees,  and leftover turkey and pecan pie in the fridge.

Happy New Year, everyone.

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