The little red light was flashing on my cell phone, meaning I had a message.
"It's snowing here," it read. I read it again, slower this time. "It's ... snowing ... here."
Yep, that's what it said all right.
Noooooooo! I missed it. I was in Valdosta and it snowed in Albany. I missed the snow.
I consider myself an eternal snow optimist. Even in the warmest of winters past, I kept the faith that Southwest Georgia might get snow -- that one morning we would wake up to gently rolling, white hills and the whole family would dress in burly woolen coats and matching hand knit mittens and build a six-foot snowman with a big top hat and throw snowballs and drink huge cups of steaming hot cocoa while sitting by the big picture window watching glistening snowflakes fall gently outside to the tune of Bing Crosby playing softly in the background. Never mind that I don't own a burly woolen coat or even a top hat. But a girl can dream.
"It might snow," my winter mantra always includes. No, I'm no weather person and neither was my daddy, despite that one comment in elementary school. "Is your daddy a weather man cause you're dressed like there's gonna be a flood," said a classmate, referring to my unfortunate highwater britches, the result of a sudden growth spurt. Don't worry. I had a snappy comeback. "Well ... uh ...so ... you're stupid."
I'm clever like that.
This year, it came close when snow covered the area for the better part of two days. Big, fluffy snowflakes fell. Nevermind that the dogs freaked out, my snowman was a four-inch-tall muddy mess and looked like a tumor, and I couldn't find anyone to knit us matching mittens -- there was snow. Glorious snow.
I'm not quite sure from where my snow fixation originates. My earliest memory of it was our father waking us up in the middle of the night and taking us out in the yard. We had no outside lights except on the porch, so our parents turned on the headlights of the car so we could see the snowflakes flutter down. We caught it on our tongues and tried to scoop it up on the hood of the car. It didn't stick, and was gone by morning.
The first real snow that I remember was in the 1970s. It stuck, and Plains was covered in a blanket of white. My brother and sisters built snowmen and snowballs and somebody chained a big truck tire to the back of a pickup truck and pulled the neighborhood kids around. I remember the fun, because I watched it all from under a blanket on the sofa in front of the window in our den. I had the mumps. Both sides. They tried to convince me that I wasn't missing anything special -- mama put them up to it -- and somebody even made me a snowball and put it in the freezer. I think somebody ate it.
There have been no white Christmases in Southwest Georgia in my lifetime. There have been Christmases so cold the pipes froze, and Christmases when we wore shorts and flip-flops. But no snow. Maybe, just maybe, this year will be different. I'm not getting my hopes up, mind you. I'm not running out to buy a top hat. Not quite yet.
Because I'm no weather person, even if my pants are a little short. I'm just a girl with a dream -- a snowy dream.
And one who really wishes she had learned how to knit.
Merry Christmas from all of us at the Flynn house. May you be blessed with good health and much happiness over the holiday -- and maybe, just maybe, even a little snow.
Contact columnist Mandy Flynn at firstname.lastname@example.org.