Winter conditions provide quick break from the rat race

Published on Wednesday, 12 February 2014 11:15 - Written by By BRIAN PEARSON,

The excitement built as updates poured in about delayed school openings and potentially hazardous morning driving.

Folks in the north get “snow days” – sometimes lots of them – every year, but that kind of thing is a rarity in these parts, like once every few years.

Lately, winter has teased the Tyler area with the possibility of snow, sleet, freezing rain and the kind of conditions that would close schools and briefly slow life.

On Tuesday, the teasing volume grew louder as the wintery weather reports poured forth from the media, school districts and businesses announcing early closings.

There is something comforting about the prospect of needing to hunker down, stay home and get a rat-race break.

There is something in all of us that longs for a winter-weather power outage, so we can crank up the fireplaces and candles, improvise on the culinary front, play some board or card games, talk, maybe drink a little wine and be deprived of our computers and television. Our connection to the outside world would depend on the charges left on our smart phones and mobile devices, but we’d keep them mostly off to conserve.

On the icy drive home from work Tuesday evening, with sleet bouncing off the truck, I received a text from my wife, Beth, that power was off at our home.

My first thought was, “Darn, we won’t be able to see the Olympics tonight.”

But then the hunker-down instinct kicked in, and thoughts turned to figuring out ways to enjoy the evening.

With plenty of propane for the grill, which has a side burner, dinner would be fine – and fun. Plenty of fireplace wood already had been gathered, and plenty of candles, flashlights and other battery-operated illumination devices ensured that darkness would have little effect on our merry evening proceeds.

Alas, the lights were back on by the time of my arrival, but the sleet continued falling hard, with the roads icing up.

Schools began announcing delays, bringing joy to the hearts of my sons and step-son as well as myriad children throughout the land. While it appeared that there would be school at some point today, at least there would be sleeping in.

And that’s just what we did – along with much of the rest of the Tyler area. A lazy, relaxed, take-your-time morning ensued. I made a couple of world-class break burritos, while my wife and stepson had a cozy morning of watching cartoons and having a rare school-day breakfast together.

The roads to work were anything but dangerous, with the only ice being what flew off the tops of vehicles and shattered on the pavement.

But there were few vehicles out. It was almost like driving around town on Christmas.

People were home, indoors and likely having the kind of warm morning that our household enjoyed.

Responding to a Facebook fetcher asking folks what they did with their morning, Tyler resident Sheila Austin, an associate at Henry & Peters, P.C., said she studied.

YES! columnist and Hawkins resident Debbie Lee Townsend said, “Slept in. Been moving extra slow ever since. Sometimes sleeping in backfires on me.”

Lindale resident Beth Walker said, “Ordered two bullet train Japan rail passes, updated garden journal (started French Sorrell, more kale, stepped up scorpion peppers, moved baby peppers from hoop house to barn) had a fresh ruby red grapefruit from hoop house with breakfast and going to help my hubby tape and bed the basement.”

I’m not sure what that all means, but Ms. Walker kept herself quite busy!

Tyler resident and warrior Judith Warnick Highsmith said, “Checked and responded to my work e-mails before heading in!”

Whitehouse resident Chase D. Wilson, who had a less-than-relaxing time, said, “Sanding bridges and overpasses all night and all morning!”

Let’s give Chase a round of applause!

Tyler resident Susan Seaberry Wells captured the spirit with this comment about her daughter:

“Caroline put it this way: She won the children's lottery. We went to Florida, played on the beach, had longs walks, movies, great coastal food, shopped and then got up at an unspeakable time (Tuesday) morning, drove all the way, missed all the bad weather and got home in time for Spring Creek barbecue and a game of Catan. And then, just as I was telling her to get ready for bed, we get the wonderful automated phone message that we have a school delay ’til 10. I hate to shout, but we may be the luckiest people in the world!”

Tyler Kelsey Kimbro, youth leader at New Life Baptist Church in Tyler, perhaps said it best: “Quiet.”

It’s in our DNA to long for these special moments to break from the routine, slow down and recharge our emotional batteries, and lots of us, poor Chase D. Wilson excluded, got that chance for a few precious hours Wednesday morning.

Perhaps we should be more proactive and think about how we can do this more often, not waiting on Old Man Winter or other circumstances to create those opportunities for us.

Who’s with me?


Brian Pearson is managing editor for the Tyler Morning Telegraph.