Friday, January 18, 2008

Snow! and the New Recruits


While I was dreaming of snow on Wednesday night, it snowed. Dang. I missed seeing it fall softly and hearing the sound of tiny ice crystals tickling the windows. A child I am, at heart.

All of the school districts, colleges and universities closed on Thursday morning – except for my college. Although I was disappointed with their decision, it made sense. Who can’t drive through a tiny bit of slush on the roads? The drivers in Charlotte - that’s who!

Driving through a snowstorm takes skill and I had plenty of practice living in Maryland. During the winter I was sixteen and driving, my Dad, who made a living at driving, took me to a large, empty parking lot on a Sunday morning during a snowstorm. The soft, fluffy kind of snow was blinding, but I drove that 64 Chevy Impala with Dad next to me in the passenger seat. Oh, I was trembling with fear as I plowed my way through six inches of powder. He told me to “gun it”. Woo hoo! I felt the frightening loss of control – rubber on ice without chains - and learned the correction. Over and over again. Spinning, braking, plowing through icy dust with so much play in that steering wheel… it was twice the size of the steering wheels in cars today but the Chevy Impala was, too. After we made it home safely, I learned he had loaded the trunk with kitty litter and a shovel. Smart man. He taught me well.


By mid-morning, our two inches of wet snow was melting quickly.

On the way home, I stopped to admire this snowman, made with little snow. The children and adults must have worked so hard…and played so hard…oh, how I remember “snow days” and the joy. Children here don't have snow memories like mine. After all, I compromised my life on icy hills with a well oiled and sharpened Flexible Flyer!


At home the birds were frantic! The feeders were bone dry and they waited for me and watched.


They knew I’d be there, filling, filling, filling, until their hearts were warm. Seemed like hundreds were there in high volume, in a wild bird frenzy.

More snow tomorrow…stay tuned. I found my boots and gloves but I can’t find my ugly hat.


Our new class of police recruits started their semester-long journey on Monday. The class of eighteen on Monday is now sixteen. One male recruit packed up and left after lunch on day one. A female recruit packed up the following morning.

It’s a physically weak class.


This photo was taken on Monday during their first formation. I would love to know their thoughts while listening to Sgt. Moore. He’ll mold them into fine officers if they grow strong in mind and body.

Do you remember Johnson? She failed out academically more than half way through her training last semester because she had outside circumstances to work through. When cadets fail, they leave quickly and quietly and I was sad about it. After her fellow cadets graduated on December 4th, she came to see me before she registered for the Spring semester. I didn’t recognize this woman who had shed many pounds and looked just wonderful. We hugged. She remembered my whisper, “Go Johnson…” and thanked me.

She’s back. Better than ever. To do it all over again. Does she look determined, or what? I think...she's gonna...WIN!


Ruth said...

Wow! You had as much snow on the ground as we do, but ours isn't melting. Great photos. That snowman would have taken a lot of effort. I remember going to "Skid School", a two day driving course that taught us how to handle slippery conditions and drive defensively. It was scary as we practiced controlling spins, but so worthwhile.

Carol Michel said...

Mary, in that last picture of birds, they all look so tame, like they are just sitting their patiently waiting for you to come fill their feeders. Are you like some kind of bird whisperer? I can barely get the birds to stay at the feeder when I'm taking pictures from inside the house. Silly birds, don't they know I'm not going out there in the cold? What is your secret?

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

RuthieJ said...

Ice and snow....a bad combination in Minnesota and even worse in South Carolina! I can't believe people were out in the sunshine wearing t-shirts on Monday and you had snow by the end of the week. At least it will melt and moisten your ground a little more.

Go new recruits and hooray for Johnson. I know she'll make it this time!

Mary said...

Ruth, "Skid School"? What a great education. Not offered in the U.S., as far as I know.

Carol, they are tame. The really do know me and what to expect. Spoiled brats but I love them. Eventually, they will know you, too, and you will have a few favorite birds to name.

Ruthie, it was 33 degrees on Monday. One recruit didn't bring a sweatshirt, so they all had to wear t-shirts. That was lesson one. We're happy for the moisture! And...Johnson will make it this time :o)

kate said...

Snow in Charlotte - who'd of thunk it? At least it doesn't last, unlike here. We are turning to ice slowly at -40 ... getting our cars started is the challenge.

It sounds as if you are one busy woman ... and popular too! Your bird friends greet you when you arrive home.

Go Johnson - I hope she passes her programme with flying colours. She looks determined and that's always half the battle.

Have a good weekend!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Mary, that first picture is very icy. Your snow looks like ours did. Our snow was gone the next afternoon.

Q said...

Dear Mary,
The birds do depend on you! They will reward you with sweet songs come spring. SNOW?? Wow! More on the way?? Stay warm! Your icey/snow on pine photo is very pretty.
Our temperatures are dropping tonight, forecast is for 2 degrees. All next week it is to be bitterly cold.
Oh Mary, I am so happy Johnson is back! I am going to put her on my "success" list! With so many people pulling for her she's jsut got to make it.
Be safe! No falling on slippery driveways and garage floors.
Pats to the you wipe their feet when they come in from playing in the snow.

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing the photos of your beautiful birds. I've haven't noticed as many birds here in central MN as I have in years past, but I DO have downy, hairy, and red bellied woodpeckers as well as red breasted and white breasted nuthatches. I'm not really missing the house finches...
Go Johnson! I'll be rooting for her!

Unknown said...

I remember Johnson. glad she is back and determined.

Wow love that snow. I always get birds at the feeders when it snows. Lately my feeders have been quiet. We don't have any snow. Can you believe it. Strange winter here.

Chrissie said...

Love your first photo, Mary! I see from the comments it is unusual for you to have snow :-), you asked me to make sure I posted when we had some and we are still waiting :-)

NatureWoman said...

Okay, that's it. I'm packing up my snowshoes and sending them down Mary. I have *no* snow and haven't been able to use them yet. Maybe this weekend we'll get some.
Go Johnson!!!

Jayne said...

Our snow disappeared just as quickly Mary. But, it was fun while it lasted, wasn't it? Sam kept saying "the weatherman said it's going to snow again on Saturday!" He was so disappointed to wake up this morning to dryness. It all went south of us. :c) I never really learned to drive in it at all and prefer to just stay home safe and sound.

Oh, I do hope Johnson makes it! We'll keep rooting her on!

Anonymous said...

Snow, wow! It is amazing how snow is a common thing for some of us and then others are amazed by it!

Anna said...

I love that first shot. Ice and snow can be so pretty when photograpgeihed well.

Larry said...

Is Sgt. Moore 9 feet tall or just standing on something?-I miss those old cars-I owned three big old boats when I was younger.

JeanMac said...

Rooting for Johnson, too.Your first pic could be a great Christmas card.
PS Thanks for the link - it's a good blog - I guess good isn't the correct word -

Anonymous said...

Now that's the sort of snow with sparkly ice that I miss- and all those lovely birds at the feeder.

I really like the tail of the new (and old) recruits. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Johnson.

Susan Gets Native said...

*whispering.....Go, Johnson!*

Anonymous said...

I heard your area was going to get snow. I'll bet it didn't stay around long enough for you to put into practices your snow driving skills.

Love that first photo, Mary.

Naturegirl said...

Mary I can just see you spinning out of control with your dad ..somehow this scene in my mind is just so you! Perhaps you should take up car racing!! Indy would never be the same!! Oh that first image is beautiful! I know that kind of weight on tree limbs at times cause damage..there is always a snowman with fresh wet snow!Great post! hugs

Mary said...

Kate, Charlotte does get snow but infrequently. A few years ago, before we arrived, the city got 10 inches!

Lisa, yes, it wasn't here for long. Just a few hours.

Sherry, that is just too cold. I certainly don't miss those temperatures you have...

No Clue, Hello! Thanks for visiting. I thought house finches were everywhere :o)

Toni, I can't believe you are snowless, too.

Chris, maybe some of that rain will turn to snow.

Pam, calm down:o) You'll get your share. There are two more months to go.

Jayne, I still smile when I remember Sam. What a thrill it is for kids to see it, sometimes for the first time in their lives!

Tom, no big deal, huh?

Anna, thanks for visiting! And thank you for the compliment on my photo.

Larry, Sgt. Moore is 7'-2"! Yes, those cars were the size of yachts but we managed to learn to drive, didn't we?

Jean, thank you and you are welcome.

Vicki, I will definitely give updates on their progress. I'm concentrating on sending Johnson good vibes.

Susan, yep, "go Johnson..." :o)

Sandy, believe me, if there was snow on the roads I would not drive with people around here. I'd stay HOME.

Anna Naturegirl, I remember that outing with my Dad like it was yesterday. Fun and scary - sweet memory.

Kerri Farley said...

Wow! Your snow and icy pics are beautiful! And your lovely memory of your Dad teaching you how to drive in the snow....what a treasure!

Love the pic of the birdies and the feeder too!

Must have taken a lot of courage for JOhnson to come back! I'll be rooting for her!!!

Unknown said...

They usually take over my feeders. That's why this winter is so surprising.

Susie said...

Hi Mary,
Loved reading the story of how you learned to drive in snow. Your dad sounds like quite a wise teacher.
I've never in my life driven in snow.
Keep us posted on Johnson. I hope she makes it this time. She sure looks like she has determination.

Mary said...

Kerri, it was lesson from my Dad that I'll never forget :o)

Susie, Johnson will make it. She has too many people cheering for her. She'll be an excellent police officer.

Mary C said...

Love your pix, Mary. I'm rooting for Johnson, too. Weather here has been on the chilly side, and a mix of cloudy and sunny. We haven't had any rain since that "big" storm hit a few weeks ago. But forecast says we're to get rain tomorrow (Monday). So, I'm not the only one who had to learn to drive with a 64 Impala. Back then those were such neat cars. Today, no thanks! My dad also taught me to drive, but at least I didn't have to learn in the snow and ice. Good thing. I really didn't learn to drive in ice and snow until I was married and living in Denver. It was just as well since my husband was considerably more patient with me than my dad would have been. :o)

Mary said...

Hi No Clue, the Starlings are taking over. There is too much temptation in the food variety :o) Back in Delaware, large flocks of red-winged blackbirds emptied a feeder within minutes. You never know what each season will bring.

Mary C - getting around in those boat-type cars on the streets of Baltimore City wasn't easy but I think we are all better drivers from the experience.

Alyssa said...

What a nice post this was. It's great that you've gotten to experience some snow this year. It's always magical to me. I'm glad that you gave us that heartening update about Ms. Johnson. I'll be rooting for her too. Keep us posted.

LauraHinNJ said...


A friend from work is leaving to go to the police academy this week and I only hope that she will be successful and have someone as kind as you cheering her on!

Marvin said...

Looks as if you are now ahead of us on snowfall this winter.

I love the photo of the birds "waiting patiently".

Anonymous said...

Mary - I can't stop looking at that gorgeous shot of the pine needles and the frozen water droplets. Your dad was a brave and wise man to train you to drive like that.

Annie in Austin said...

You know Mary, it's a good thing I've learned not to click on your blog unless I'm sitting down with the solid bulk of the desk to lean on.... because no matter how whimsical the post, somewhere in there will always be the line, the photo, the word that delivers emotionally. The nostalgic story and the icy tree were great, but you got to all of us at Johnson. Good thoughts to all the recruits!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

dguzman said...

Go Johnson!

That first pic of the snowy pine is frame-worthy, Mary! I love it!