Ralf Hirschberger/Getty Images

Oh, dear heaven—get to the Piggly Wiggly before they run out of bread!

Let’s just own this, Deep South—we lose our minds when it snows. Snow in Tennessee, snow in North Carolina—snow just about anywhere north of Alabama—is not such a big deal. The snowier Upper South is better prepared. As for the rest of us, we’re stampeding The Pig, snatching up every loaf of bread and the last gallon of milk. (Aside: What is the deal with milk and bread? I say this not from a position of superiority, as I do it, too. But does anybody know why? It’s like we have some strange compulsion triggered by those streaks of pink and white on the Doppler.)

Most predictions of snow don’t pan out, so we have to invent new sandwiches to use up all that bread before it gets stale. And Tallulah the cat puts on a few pounds, lapping up the excess milk. (Aside #2: If you’ve never seen a Southern cat lay paw to snow for the first time, your life is not complete.)

In our defense, we’re not completely irrational. We just want to be prepared for even a flake because we've been, well, burned by snow a few times. Snow down here tends to be a feast or famine proposition—either none at all or a blizzard that shuts us down for a week. Every Southerner who is old enough to remember “Winter Storm ’93”—which hit in March, mind you—still shivers at the thought of it. We remember the ice that snapped the power lines that rendered our electric heat and stoves useless. We recall the road closings, with nary a snow plow in sight, and endless days without TV. Back then, I was standing on my apartment balcony, looking out at the winter wonderland, when two brave Alabama Power guys trudged through knee-deep white stuff down below. And just as they passed under my balcony, one said to the other, “Shoulda gone to college, Bob.”

Our children do not own sleds. We have no snow shovels. And so our commentary during a big snow is different from that of our northern brethren. Also, we tend to repeat ourselves, saying the very same things in every storm.

Listen, my children, and you shall hear, of the stuff we say when it snows down here:

Bubba Says:
Everybody else is buyin’ milk and bread; I’m buyin’ beer and charcoal.

Mama Says:
Quick! Turn up the radio—they’re calling out school closings!

Everybody Says:
1. Have we got plenty of [insert your beverage of choice here]?

2. Before this happens again, I’m buying a generator.

3. You better believe we’ll be the first ones in line when the Cracker Barrel opens back up.

4. I’ve got 4-wheel drive, so it won’t slow me down if the roads ice over.

5. Did you call the power company?

6. Have you heard from the power company?

7. Hallelujah, there’s a power company truck outside.

8. Let’s have a word of prayer for the guys from the power company.

9. They say the food in the freezer will keep for two days if we don’t open the door.

10. I wonder if we could use the Chevy engine for a stove and make gumbo out of deer steaks, frozen peas, and bacon?

11. If we don’t get heat pretty soon, we’re booking a room at the Hampton.

12. Zip up your heavy coat and put on your hunting boots—we’re hiking down the road to check on Memaw.