And snow it goes…

by Debbie Carini

Last Friday, it snowed. I know, I know — it’s February, it’s supposed to snow! On the Eastern seaboard of our country, citizens are digging out from under one of the largest snowstorms on record. It’s so big, it even has a name, Nemo.

I live in southern California though, and it rarely snows below 4000 feet in our neighboring mountain ranges. But last week, we experienced some white stuff—hail, really—and it sprinkled our yard with itty-bitty, mothball-shaped orbs of ice.

For the brief 60 minutes or so that it sparkled on the lettuce beds and chicken coop, our yard looked like a winter wonderland. I ran outside to take a picture and posted it to Facebook.

The first comment was from my sister, who was a virtual prisoner in her home in New Jersey.  

“I think you could clean that up with a spoon,” she posted.

I have endured this familiar east-west weather tug-of-words almost my entire life. When my parents moved from the Garden State to California in the mid-60s, my father took great pleasure in calling relatives experiencing inclement weather on the east coast to tell them “it’s 80 degrees here today!” He always said 80 degrees, even if it was raining outside.

And usually when it’s raining, it is snowing at the higher elevations; so if we want to “visit” the white stuff, we can. (Although, truth be told, it’s not as much fun as it sounds. The traffic backs-up for miles and people—and their animals who’ve been pent-up in the car for hours—take to pulling over anywhere and sliding down any hill. There’s a lot of “yellow” snow, exhaust-choked air and the conditions are beyond dangerous, with rocks and tree stumps jutting dangerously up through every improvised course).  

The last time I went to the mountains with my husband, children and the sleds (moon-variety and classic wooden Flexible Flyer), the haphazard conditions reminded me of Edith Wharton’s novel, Ethan Frome—the scene [spoiler alert!] where Ethan and cousin Mattie make an ill-fated pact to be together forever and sled down a hill into a tree and what they hope will be eternity, only to find themselves grievously injured with about 100 more pages of the book to go.  

My husband always says people in California don’t know how to drive in the rain and I’m not sure they know how to sled either; a lot of people were barreling-down the mountain-side on Hefty bags.

I enjoyed our recent, and brief, white weather event and happily conceded the snow amount to those suffering the effects of Nemo. On Facebook, my daughter posted pictures from her style blog,, where she was sporting fashionable blizzard-wear as she shoveled herself out of student housing. My sister posted pictures of her son and his business partners S&C Snow Removal (the C being my nephew Charlie) standing in front of a John Deere-looking mini plow (when I was 13, I thought I was rocking the road on a Royce Union 10-speed!).  

Upon hearing the topic of this column, my mom chimed in with her own weather calamity “Your sister (Donna, the second in a string of 4 girls) was born in a snowstorm,” she exclaimed. “I don’t know how we made it—2 other ladies came in after me who’d had their babies on the side of the highway. Your dad just crept along the road.”

And 6 years later, he hit the road for California, and said goodbye to snow for good.  

Well, of course, except for the snow in my backyard last week.


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