Christmas in July: Snow, Snow, Snow….

It is too dang hot!

Driving home Friday afternoon, the temperature registered at 104*.  Granted this is Alabama and as far as summers go, it’s not been bad. When the mercury rises above 100*…let’s just say the heat makes you crazy. You start looking for ways to cool off. Swimming, soaking in a tub of cold water, sitting in front of a fan, eating ice cream. Heck, I’ve been sleeping with an ice pack. I haven’t followed Marylin Monroe’s lead and froze my undies but I am seriously considering freezing the sheets. You will do anything to cool off.

When I saw the heat index this morning, over 100* again, I thought about snow. I flipped through the files in my memory until I found the memory of our last real snowfall. It was about 6 years ago…

This is sleet, not snow.

This is sleet, not snow.




Memories of snow…

I love snow. I always have. Being a late winter baby, I have had a few birthday’s marked with snow. Living in Coastal Alabama, we don’t get the white stuff often.  It’s even rarer for it to stick. What passes for snow here, is called sleet in colder regions. But hey, it’s cold and it’s white.

My children have only seen snow twice. The first time they were 5 and 6, give or take a year. We drove 30 miles north on slick roads to a rural part of the county. They had 6 inches of pretty, real snow.

First snow.

First snow.

We dressed in layers of long johns and jeans and multiple shirts and jackets. Z-girl was lucky enough to have a pair of rain boots that still fit, C-girl wasn’t so lucky. We stomped around in the snow, let flurries fall into open mouths, and made an actual snowman. I wish I could find a picture of that!

The snowman in question stood roughly 3 feet tall and took every bit of snow we could scrape off the grass. The base was bigger than a basketball. We were proud.  But like all Southern snowmen, he wasn’t pure white. He had the definite appearance of one built by Pigpen. Dirt clung to the snow, giving him a grey tint. We didn’t care.

We threw snowballs and shivered for an hour, before our oldest started turning blue. Unaccustomed to snow, we forgot it was wet. Our jeans clung to our skin.  The thin layer of cotton long johns was no defense against the cold needle prickles of the snow. We pulled the wet clothes off the girls and covered them in thick blankets in the back seat.  Turned the heat on high and drove home.

It was a short adventure, but a grand one. No one forgets their first snow.

Do you remember your first snow?


Christmas In July- Behind the Fruitcake

A little background on, The Fruitcake.

Fruitcake - High Resolution
First, it’s not about a crazy person. Although, the grandfather does overact a bit over fruitcakes. The story actually evolved out of a real event that occurred when I was in high school. I don’t want to give too much away. I’ll just say it’s loosely based on fact. Replace the grandfather/grandson with board teenagers.
There is a misconception that I do not appreciate/like fruitcake. That’s not entirely true. I like good fruitcake. I hate bad fruitcake. Good fruitcake is made with dried fruits and nuts, and uses unnaturally colored cherries for decoration only. Bad fruitcake is… the opposite. It’s like cheap flip flops, you know it when you see it.

Making Fruitcake.

My Grandmother made fruitcake every year for Christmas. It was a dark cake with the traditional sugared fruits and bright cherries. It wasn’t my favorite, but it wasn’t Christmas without it. As she grew older, I started to make fruitcake, using her recipe. After a try or two, I switched out the traditional fruit for real dried fruit. Talk about a light bulb moment. It was wonderful.
When you decide to make fruitcake, it’s not a simple endeavor. It’s a huge commitment. I’m talking- clear the entire day of anything and mark it on the calendar type of commitment. My grandmother’s recipe takes 3 bowls large enough to bathe a great dane. It also takes time. Most of the day. The recipe makes 3 cakes, and cooks slowly. I usually take one cake to my in-laws and cook it there. I’m nice and let them keep it.
The directions on my grandmother’s recipe calls for pouring sherry over the cooled bread. I find that funny, I’m Baptist and my parents and grandparents were teetotalers. My dad says, the recipes came from my great grandmother, who did pour sherry over the cakes. Of course this is the same woman I hear stories about loving wrestling to the point of hostility when told it was fake.
I don’t make fruitcake every year. Most years, I buy cute little cupcakes from a local bakery. I nearly pass out from the cost, but it saves me a day in the kitchen. I go around to family members who adore the heavy cake and fill their stockings. It makes them happy. Do I eat it…no. Not usually.

Is there a Christmas treat your family loves that is not your favorite?


Christmas in July

Christmas in July, or it’s too darn hot outside.

photo by David Wagner

I don’t know about you, but I could use a little winter relief. Between the heat and humidity I feel like I’m living in a heavy, wet blanket.  Just looking at the photo makes me feel cooler. Well, almost. It’s been almost a year since I published my short story, The Fruitcake and I feel like having a little Christmas fun in July. I hope to have an announcement at the first of August, keep your fingers crossed.  This month my regular posts will have a hint of Christmas. For now, I leave you with the thought of snow. That’s more of a fantasy here!

What’s your favorite winter/Christmas activity?