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Yes, the reports are true. It is snicing in Atlanta. That is snowing and icing because that is what is happening here today. It’s not like any hail or sleet I’ve ever seen. Anyone from a snowy state care to explain?

We were out of school yesterday when there was nothing but ordinary ole rain falling from the sky. The snice didn’t start falling until about midnight last night and now the roads are covered in the wintery mix. Not a snow plow or grit truck in sight. Obviously, school was canceled again today. Because I know many of you across the country will be stuck home today with weather of your own, here are two of my favorite reactions to Atlanta snow. The first from SNL, the second, a classic from the 2011 snow storm in Atlanta. Not much has changed. Enjoy.

I’ve heard friends explain their method for deciding where to spend the holidays as a weighing up of traditions. Whose family has the stronger tradition? Which holiday is more meaningful to which partner? If both traditions are equally strong then there’s nothing to do but travel between the two households on the day (Christmas lunch at one, Christmas dinner at the other), or, if the distance is too great, alternate years. If one family’s Christmas tradition is more quintessentially unique and precious than the other, inevitably, that’s where the couple will go two out of every three Christmases. It’s a sensible enough method, but just would not work for Luke and me. Not for Christmas, anyway. I’d lose every time.

For Luke’s family, Christmas is a precious reenactment of childhood traditions. Although marriages and moves have inevitably imposed changes even on the stoutest of these traditions, basically Christmas is bursting with nostalgia every year. My family’s Christmas traditions on the other hand have, in recent years, come to represent the inconstancy of a changed family. In the past six or seven years, we’ve spent Christmas in a different location every year, with a different set of people, observing other people’s traditions more often than not (with a few remnants of ours preserved for good measure). And that’s okay. We’re okay. We’ve adapted. We always have a good time wherever we are.

Thanksgiving, too, has in recently years become a holiday in flux. Shared with in-laws in new towns, with neighbors in new cities, or sometimes with only one person in a country that doesn’t celebrate the holiday.

It wasn’t always that way. Thanksgiving and Christmas used to follow a prescribed pattern. Thanksgiving when I was younger was always at my Dad’s parent’s house, where as many aunts, uncles and cousins who could attend did. When I was a little older, Thanksgiving moved to our family’s cabin in the mountain’s. It could hold more people, and so more relatives and practically-relatives showed up. Sometimes we’d have over twenty people crowded around two or three tables. We’d play Christmas music, eat turkey and make my grandma’s famous mac n’ cheese. On the Friday after Thanksgiving, we’d have our family Christmas, since chances were we weren’t going to see all these relatives again one month later. So it was great really. Two of the eatingest holidays packed into one weekend.

Oh, how sweet it is when the stars align just so (and people’s schedules, too), that everyone can come back to a familiar spot and create a new tradition that reminds us all very much of a precious old one. Like Thanksgiving at the cabin, with over twenty people crowded around tables, and turkey, and snow, and a fire in the hearth. Even better when there are new faces mixed in with the old, and new traditions (like an oyster bar in the yard!) to remind us that our traditions are strongest when they are infused with the new.

I hope you had a happy one.

Luke and I will be enjoying The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman during our drive down to Savannah, GA on Sunday. We’ll also probably listen to a few This American Life podcasts (!!)… raptly, I’ll add. I’m pleased as punch that Luke is now an Ira fan too. We’ll be in Savannah for a few days visiting with my mom and I’m looking forward to cobblestone streets, manicured square gardens and shady live oaks tinseled with Spanish moss. I’m also looking forward to 70 degree weather and playing in the chilly waves at Tybee island.

Another highlight will be visiting this bookstore and eating our weight in this. (We will not, however, be eating at this restaurant.)

In the meantime, here are some short reads I’ve enjoyed this week.

From The Atlantic: What role, if any, does the fact checker play in a society that lives for sensation?

From Cracked: 9 Foreign Words the English Language Desperately Needs including a Finnish word that means “a person who believes it is their destiny to stamp out all spelling and punctuation mistakes at the cost of popularity, self-esteem and mental well-being.” Though my favorite, by far, is he Georgian word Shemomedjano…

From Inhabitat: Artist Simon Beck walks all day to create stunning snow art. This guy looks incredibly happy.

Have a great, bookish weekend!

(Top photo from our trip to Assateague Island last June.)

This time last year I couldn’t get enough of wintery landscapes in books. We were living in England where we’d had a magical snow-dusted December and part of January. You’d think that all that snow and hoarfrost would make a person want to escape to warmer climes in books, but for me it was just the opposite. I spent my favorite season snowed in in Iceland, Newfoundland, Maine and, this year, Russia.

 

 

 

 

Carrying on the tradition, I began reading City of Thieves while visiting family in Florida over MLK weekend. I’m sure it’s not normal to want to read about a war-torn and ice-encased Leningrad while sitting in sunny Florida. (Abnormal, though arguably the better way to experience it.) Even so, I find descriptions of cold landscapes infinitely more exotic than hot. A review to follow shortly.

How about you? Do you crave literary escapes to warmer settings in winter? And colder climates in summer? And just out of curiosity, what’s your favorite season?

A memory from that perfectly crisp, snowy week in December last year. 

(Top photo a still from the movie The Shipping News)

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