Snow days — They served up heaping helpings of fun
by Rebecca Johnston
Columnist
February 03, 2013 12:12 AM | 874 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Rebecca Johnston<br>Cherokee Tribune Managing Editor
Rebecca Johnston
Cherokee Tribune Managing Editor
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I picked up a magazine in the grocery store line this week that featured an intriguing front photograph.

Others might be attracted to the latest tabloid headlines about Tom Cruise or another celebrity, but what catches my eye is food coverage.

This particular magazine pictured a black iron skillet with gooey orange rolls baked in it on its cover.

Growing up here in Canton, the black iron skillet was an important ingredient at my home. Truly, those seasoned, well-loved utensils were treasured family heirlooms, passed down from generation to generation.

When my own mother died we had more arguments about who got her black iron Dutch oven than who would be the recipient of her jewelry.

We loved our home-cooked meals when I was growing up. Of course that was all we knew. We would rarely go out to a restaurant, and the only fast food we knew about were those meals that didn’t have to be cooked such a long time.

This time of year is the perfect time to savor slow-cooked roasts and stews, soups and side dishes.

For some reason, nothing makes me hungrier than the possibility of snow or bad weather.

Maybe that is why people always rush to the grocery store for bread and milk when winter weather is predicted.

When I was growing up the only high school in Cherokee County was Cherokee High and if there was ice or snow in any corner of the community, all schools would close for the day.

Because buses were used by so many students to travel to elementary schools and the high school from Oak Grove, Free Home, Ball Ground and other far-flung outposts, even the slightest hint of ice meant no school.

That meant lots of fun at home, especially if there was a big snow. Snow days were the best days.

My mother would use her big black pot to stir up a pot of chili. Or maybe she would make chicken and dumplings.

I loved her dumplings: big fluffy balls of flour and milk and Crisco dropped into the swirling pot of chicken and broth and allowed to puff up into marshmallowy looking clouds of deliciousness.

Try as I may, I have never been able to duplicate them.

We used to pray for snow days when I was a child. We would watch the sky with anticipation anytime the weatherman predicted the smallest flurry of activity.

We would tune into WCHK to find out if our school superintendent, Kleven Boston, had called off school. That was the only way, as far as I know, at that time to know whether we had school.

All children that I knew loved snow ice cream. We would go out and scrap the snow off a post or rail and rake it into a pan, then bring it inside and quickly mix it with milk, sugar and vanilla for an icy, delicious treat.

Milk back them was delivered to our house each week by a milkman. We got our milk from McCurley Dairy on Univeter Road, and one of the two McCurley gentlemen would bring it in glass bottles to our home on our delivery days.

Maybe it is just my memory, or maybe it was true, but everything back then tasted better and fresher than what we get at the supermarket today.

When it snowed, somehow people still got around. Our groceries were delivered from Jones Mercantile.

The mailman still made it through snow and sleet, and rain and hail, or whatever.

But that is still true today. I watched our faithful mailman walk up Main Street to the Tribune office the last two weeks no matter what bad weather we were experiencing.

One thing I always loved about snow days when I was a child was how quiet the world seemed.

Traffic sounds were hushed, the noise of day to day life muted.

My grandmother lived on Main Street in a little house and I would often wrangle a way to get there. My dad would put chains on his car to make it to Canton Textile Mill office in downtown Canton. He would drop me off at my grandmother’s on his way.

I might not be able to get to school, but I could get to town.

Gran and I would feed the birds crumbs on the snow-covered stepping stones in front of her house.

My friends and I would gather what sleds and devices we could find and tramp to a hill in somebody’s yard, usually my friend Jeannie Lathem’s house on Cherokee Street.

Later in the afternoon I would trudge to my friends houses along Main Street for hot cocoa, dropping wet gloves and dirty galoshes in a way that I am sure was maddening to other parents.

School would usually be called off until the last little road in north Cherokee County had thawed, giving us several days of unexpected wintertime fun, another thing I am sure drove parents crazy.

But it was great with the kids. Because, no question, those days were the best days.

Rebecca Johnston is managing editor of The Cherokee Tribune.
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