We all know Mother Nature is not predictable

Published 2:30 pm Tuesday, January 18, 2022

I watched several newscasts for nearly a week that included predictions about our latest snow event.  They were, predictably, all over the place—one to two inches, four to five inches, snow, rain.  It was just a big question mark despite all the sophisticated, high-tech devices they now use to predict the weather.  Even I know that Mother Nature is NOT predictable.  

However, in an effort to prepare for the “snowpocalypse” I did what all Southerners do.  Bread (check), milk (check), and toilet paper (double check).  But as I continued to assess the threat, I thought it wise to plan a little farther out just in case ice entered the forecast.  And we all remember that ice changes all our preparations.  Yes, think Ice Storm ’94 when we had power outages for days.  It was at that time that I realized I had no pioneer spirit whatsoever.  In fact, I told my husband Tom that it was a good thing that it hadn’t been left up to me to settle the west.  We would all still be living east of the Mississippi if it had been.  Not a pioneer.  

Of course, soup was on the menu, so I checked to make sure I had the pound of ground beef and the vegetables.  It’s really pretty amazing that you can take a pound of ground beef and turn it into several different dishes.  Not just soup.  But there’s meatballs for spaghetti.  Also, it can become what we have always called hobo packs.  You know where you fashion a patty and surround it with broccoli, carrots, onions, potatoes, and most anything else that you like.  Wrap it in foil, place in the oven, and wait about 40 minutes and dinner is served.  And there’s very little cleanup after.  

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Speaking of potatoes, a 5-pound bag of potatoes has such potential.  You can bake them, mash them, fry them, make scalloped or au gratin potatoes, potato soup—the list is endless.  Yes, I know I sound like Bubba Blue from Forrest Gump as he describes shrimp as the “fruit of the sea” and goes on to list the many ways it can be prepared:   “You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, sauté it. And there’s also shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried.”  So, in addition to all the things you can make from a bag of potatoes, you can do many things with a few pounds of shrimp too.  

Fortunately, the snow event was a little less dramatic than the several-day buildup about it in the news and forecasts, at least for us.  Now there’s folks in the northeast and mid-Atlantic that would point out the foot of snow that is wreaking havoc.  Schools are canceled, which might be a good thing given the latest COVID surge.  Commerce has slowed to a crawl with driving conditions on the interstate greatly affected with the snow and ice.  Life is somewhat on pause for them right now.  

We are very fortunate to live in a moderate climate zone.  Yes, it’s screaming hot in the summer and can be frigid cold in the winter.  But right here in lil’ ol’ Oxford and north Mississippi, our weather is much friendlier than say along the coast where hurricanes threaten.  And we don’t have the deep snows that affect our near neighbors just to the north of us.  We are indeed blessed.  Yes, we have tornado threats too often to be sure.  But all in all, we’re pretty lucky.

So, stock the freezer and pantry with the ground beef and potatoes in case there’s another cold front and threat of snowpocalypse in the next few weeks.  Remember Ice Storm of ’94 came in mid-February!

Bonnie Brown writes a column for The Oxford Eagle. Contact her at bbrown@olemiss.edu.