It’s snowing down south.Not really.
The phrase just popped into my head. It's something my mother used to say. For the first few years, memories were painful. Nowadays, I am happy whenever something tweaks recollections of her.
The white pelicans have returned, as they do each January, gliding across the water like swans. They swim synchronously, in large clumps. Sometimes they cover the lagoon behind our house like a white blanket. But there is no snow here in central Florida, any more than it is in coastal Texas, where I grew up.My father woke me early one morning in my seventh winter, and told me to look out the window. The ground was covered in fluffy white stuff. It was at most a couple of inches, and very little was left by nightfall. But while it lasted, we had a ball. My mother, who grew up in Iowa, tramped down the snow in a circle with a cross in the middle and taught us to play Fox and Goose. Then we used up most of the snow in the yard to build a snow man with a sarape and sombrero. A choppy old 8mm movie shows my elfin mother scampering about in her hooded car coat and pedal pushers. (If you are of a certain age, you will remember that pedal pushers are capri pants).
Those of a certain age, may also remember another meaning of “It’s snowing down south.” It means, “Your slip is showing.” Not like the pink slip from the boss. It’s like a petticoat without ruffles or crinoline. Just a sleek satiny tube. Something Diana was not wearing when the paparazzi ambushed her at the nursery school, her legs clearly visible beneath a diaphanous skirt. There was a time when no self-respecting woman would leave the house without a slip between her skirt and girdle. Yes, a girdle, even if you were quite thin. A lady should not jiggle, and besides, you needed a girdle to hold up your hosiery. But your slip could make an unwelcome appearance. This was a common occurrence in the late sixties, when the mini-skirt held sway. Hence the phrase, “It’s snowing down south.”It can get cold on winter mornings around here. I cannot find my good black gloves when we take the dog for a walk. So I have to wear the horrid white fluffy ones that were the last pair left at the Walgreen's next to our hotel in Washington when we were there for a wedding, unprepared for the cold snap. The gloves are warm, but they make me look like Mickey Mouse. Or maybe, a mime. And the fluff drops off. White flakes drift down and cling to my black corduroy pants. This makes me smile.
It’s snowing down south.