As Spring Approaches, Some Lingering Winter Thoughts

Is it spring yet? Probably not, but it’s coming. It must be!


March-April 2018

What a winter we had — or didn’t have — here in the mountains. Right now, in late January, it has snowed a grand total of, oh, half an inch? Bah!

Margot Oxendine

However, in unlikely places like Norfolk, Virginia Beach, South Carolina and Georgia, they got our share of snow. And then some. I am insanely jealous.Those folks, fine as they may be, simply don’t deserve a snowstorm! First of all, they don’t know how to drive in it. I’m not saying I am particularly adept at snowy-road driving; I am not. I am too keyed up and anxious, trying to hurry back to my cozy house while going as slowly as possible, determined not to apply the brakes.

I hadn’t seen snow for 15 years when I moved back from San Francisco, I well remember my first day of driving in it. I took it slowly and carefully. Suddenly, though, I saw a shiny BMW start twirling toward me, spinning all over the road.

Oh, geez, I thought. He’s going to broadside me. Do I apply the brakes? No; then I’ll start twirling, too. I watched the scene unfold, helpless. And sure enough, the BMW hit me and tossed me into a cliff-side. Thank heavens it was there!

I got out of the car. I was wearing what I thought at the time was a perfect outfit for a snowy day: My California-based attire included a bright-purple coat, a hot-pink beret and emerald-green leather gloves. I don’t recall what I had for footwear, but none of my apparel was adequate, it became apparent.

As I stood there wondering what to do (this was back before ubiquitous cellphones), other cars and trucks kept passing. One slowed. The window rolled down. ‘Great,’ I thought. ‘I recognize this person from my school days. She’ll help me!’

Instead, she leaned over and hollered out the window, “You’re not in San Francisco any more, Margo!” She laughed and continued driving.

Finally, the proverbial helpful stranger showed up. A fellow named Rodney, in a big truck, with a tow chain tossed in the back. He hooked me up and pulled me out, and I toodled on my way, shaking the rest of the day.

One thing I love about winter is that, on a snowy day, all I have to do is sit in my home office and watch the flakes fall. I do not have to inch my way onto the road to get to work, or back home again. I always lay in a bunch of groceries on a sunny winter day, because heaven forbid I should be stuck here with nothing enticing to eat. Or worse: No more cream for my coffee. (I will never run out of coffee!)

But, this winter hasn’t fulfilled its promise. It has been cold enough to snow, that’s for sure. One morning at 5 o’clock, I discovered my water pipes had frozen. It was minus-two outside. Thankfully, the water guys came on that Sunday (another wonder of rural living). They found and fixed the problem, and claimed it as their own.

Several days later, when it had warmed up to six degrees, I discovered my beloved gas fireplace had no pilot light. I can get down, sort of, to relight it but that brings two problems: I am scared to fiddle with it, and I can’t get back up once I get down.

Various helpful folks tried to get that pilot lit. All ended up shaking their heads in frustration. I spent 10 long days in that half of the house (it’s where I read and watch TV, and it’s where the bathroom with the shower is located) shivering and bundled up, glaring at the inert fireplace.

Finally, though, I found a fellow who came up, spent just 12 minutes, and got me up and running. God bless Carl from Mountain Air.

So, I think that if it’s going to be this cold, we either need some snow, or we need to move on to spring. Spring means robins and daffodils and azaleas. Spring means no need for a heat source most of the time. Spring means no waiting for the plow boy. Spring means I can get out and take a walk in the woods, without having to wear my silly, fuzzy hat with the ear flaps.

Ahh, spring: Bring it on!

Celebrate spring with Margo’s book of columns, “A Party of One.” Order by calling 540-468-2147 Mon.-Thurs., 9-5, or email: