Oh, dear heaven–get to the Piggly Wiggly before they run out of bread!
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Southern Sayings When it Snows
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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.

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.

Papa Says:

Whose turn is it to shovel the drive?

It's really coming down out there. (While standing on the porch bundled in a million layers, or while sipping his coffee mug and peering out the windows.)

Mama Says:

Quick! Turn up the radio—they're calling out school closings!

Three layers is not enough. Go back upstairs and grab another jacket this instant.

Fine, but don't come crying to me when you're cold.

We don't have any sleds. Here, take one of my plastic serving platters that should do the job.

Don't eat the snow! I didn't pick up after the dog last night.

Oh Lord, the power's out. I just hope my casserole doesn't turn.

It looks like the neighbors have power. Do you think they'd let me plug in my crock pot?

Everybody Says:

Have we got plenty of [insert your beverage of choice here]?

Before this happens again, I'm buying a generator.

Pray that the pipes don't freeze!

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

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

Did you call the power company?

Have you heard from the power company?

Hallelujah, there's a power company truck outside.

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

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

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

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

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

There's a reason we live in the South. We're not built for this.

The weatherman lied. This is more than a cold snap.

This is well past hog-killing weather.

It's cold as all get out.

By Valerie Fraser Luesse and Emma Phelps