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Hill Country Living

Hill Country Living
By Coulter Fussell

I’ve come to realize that the most challenging aspect of raising Southern kids is not the coming to emotional terms with the inevitability of them doing dumb things on four-wheelers, the lack of societal resources they have no choice but to overcome throughout their childhoods or the mystifying level of importance that pick-up trucks play in their lives. No, none of that. The hardest part of being a parent to a Mississippi kid is when the Weather Channel predicts seven inches of snow and Jesus only delivers a quarter inch of sleet.

There needs to be a fine for this. Like a monetary fine. Not a fine to Jesus but to someone in the weather field. And the money needs to go toward the state mental healthcare resources for the collective childhood trauma. It’s like a reverse Santa Claus situation. Weather Channel, honestly, how could you?

The so-called “weather people” may be well informed science-types with many degrees of higher education but they don’t understand the hearts of children. See, what you do is predict a quarter inch of sleet on the off-chance that Jesus delivers seven inches of snow and, if his golden heart so chooses snow, voila! A whole Southland of happy children and believers!

My 16-year-old kid trekked all the way into Oxford in his hand-me-down Corolla for his buggy job at Kroger on the day it started fake-snowing. He wasn’t pushing buggies in the cold, madhouse of the Kroger parking lot for even an hour before wrecks started happening on Highway 7.

I went full Mama-mode (complete with a texted Facebook screenshot of both Pigsavers kindly closing at 6 p.m. out of concern for the safety of their employees) and ordered him immediately home no matter what anyone said. He had to stop several times on the drive home to chip ice off his windshield because he was entirely unable to see through the glass. It was solid white. He had the interior defrost and heat up so far that he had to drive with his window down because it was so hot in the car as he was dressed in his thick, weather-proof hunting clothes for his frigid, miserable, parking lot buggy-job.

Needless to say, waiting that entire 45 minutes for him to finally pull into the driveway really tested my commitment to Dry January.

Speaking of madhouse at the grocery store – who were all the strangers at the Pigsaver last week? I went to a packed Pigsaver a few days before the wrongly predicted weather event and I didn’t recognize anyone in there! That was a first. A day or two later, a friend texted from a still packed Pigsaver commenting that she, for the first time, knew no one in line. It’s like people from deep, DEEP within the hills emerged to buy disaster-related groceries.

How do y’all just appear out of nowhere and where do y’all buy groceries when it’s not snowing? Do y’all know each other or is everyone strangers? I have questions.

I’m writing this on the early morning of Martin Luther Kind Day. If real snow starts in a little while then I take back everything I said about the weather people.

Stay warm, y’all, and be nice to the grocery store folks!

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