March ‘flares’ and ‘thangs’


Do you remember in grammar school when they had you figure up how old you’d be in the year 2000? I was in seventh grade, and I couldn’t imagine being that old.

Well, hardee har har.

We are now into the third month of the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-two.

And may the Lord help us, because we surely need it.

There are a few outstanding times in the Marches of my life, and I thought I’d share a few of them with you.
Of course, the first inkling of springtime is flowers: First crocus, which usually start in mid-February at our house. Then daffodils! All my life they were called March flowers, for obvious reasons. Although they may start peeking their tight-fisted buds out in February, for the most part March is when they reveal their full glory.

And then you have Forsythia (known to us country folk as Yellow Bell, pronounced Yeller Bell) and Bridal Veil and Bachelor Buttons, etc. For me, the best and most favorite to this very day are the hyacinths.

I remember lying down in my grandmother’s yard and getting my 4-year-old nose as close to that flower as I could and sniffing it until I could no longer smell it.

I did this repeatedly while it bloomed. It’s a wonder I didn’t catch my death of cold. I would have caught something indeed if I’d ever been caught lying on the cold March ground!

I have the pink ones planted at my house now, but I don’t lay myself down on the ground (I’d never get back up!). I cut them and put them in vases. You can smell their sweet fragrance before you even enter a room.

March is a strange month. We’ve had some of our biggest snows in March when the day before was warm and spring like. My Yankee cousin and a few of her friends are coming in March to stay five days in a cabin in the mountains. She’s tried to tell them it could be cold, but they are waxing poetic about springtime in the South. I’m praying for snow during that time, just to show off.

I suppose, if you were more than three years old at the time, you remember the little snow they call the Blizzard of ’93. Everyone who is old enough to remember it has a story to tell, and unless you stop reading now, you are about to hear mine.

The author’s daughter recently dug through old photo albums until she found this picture of herself the day after the Blizzard of ’93 struck Georgia, delivering 29 inches of snow in Ellijay.

Daughter was three months shy of her third birthday. My mother, who was keeping her while I worked, called me and said Daughter was getting sick. I was at the Blue Ridge office at the time, and when I glanced out the window, big fat flakes were lazily drifting from the sky.

I called our local doctor who said to bring her in. I knew I didn’t have time to get her to her pediatrician.
So I wrapped up what I was doing, picked up my child and took her to the clinic.

She was sick indeed. Tonsillitis, bronchitis, otitis. Although they didn’t usually give antibiotic shots anymore (what’s up with that, anyway? Every single time I was ever sick as a child I got shot at least once), he suggested she get an injection plus by-mouth meds as they were predicting some pretty bad weather.

I’ll say.

Our electricity went out about 5 a.m. in an all-electric house. (That, let me assure you, has been rectified.) By daylight it was already 50 degrees in the house. We were in a white-out situation. Winds were howling like beasts from hell. It was thundering and lightninging, which I’d never heard during a snow storm. All night we could hear screaming crashes as giant trees went down. Eeriest sound I’ve ever heard. And it was getting colder.

Our phone rang. (Our phone never went out during the whole blizzard and aftermath.) Anyway, it was our neighbors down the road. They had come up for a few days from Florida and were stuck. But their furnace could be run with wood, which they had plenty of. He said for us to get there as soon as we could and get out of that cold house with that baby!

God thing: Two weeks prior to this, one of the women whom I supervised asked me did I want a snowsuit and snow boots for my daughter to play in. She was from Minnesota and had this kind of stuff. Her youngest was now too big to ever wear it and she was cleaning out closets. I said, sure why not?

So we dressed our toddler in warm clothes and then put her in the snowsuit and boots. They were a perfect fit. We had a ‘boggan for her head.

Our clothing for warmth was to go for many layers. We both had boots and coats and hats. I pocketed Daughter’s medication. Our two boxers leapt and trudged through the snow, making a trail for us to walk.
From our house to theirs is usually a two-minute walk. This time, 20 minutes later, spent and frozen, we arrived.

We spent the next five days there, going back and forth to our house for food, as our neighbors had very little. We threw all the freezer food onto the back porch and covered it in snow. It was 10 degrees the next day, so no worries about it thawing out!

No one could get to us, not even four-wheel drives. Our own four-wheel drive was snowed in up to the middle of the doors.

My brothers were finally able to rescue our neighbors, er, I mean, us. We were then at my mother’s for several days as she was close to town, and her power had been restored.

The only other thing I’ll say is I remember two days later, as we were walking back to our house for more food to cook, we were marveling at how 32 degrees felt pleasant!

One last March memory: I became an aunt for the first time in March. He was almost three months early. But he was a fighter and got to come home at the end of May when he weighed four pounds! Yikes! But he’s a grown man now with two children of his own, making me a great-aunt.

I always knew I would be great at something.

Happy March!