Snow Jam 2014

31 Jan
My firstborn eyes her first snow.

My firstborn eyes her first snow.

Snow to this Southerner has always been of the winter wonderland variety. I distinctly remember as a kid when my older brother woke me up one morning and directed my attention to the pristine scene out my window — a rare, beautiful blanketing of snow in our suburban town.

There are also the great memories of skiing through the undisturbed powder on the back mountain at Keystone resort in Colorado on a family vacation and just a few years ago my daughter marveling out the window at her first snowfall.

Snow meant getting out of school, playing with friends, neighborly visits and savoring hearty winter meals. It was a rare thing where I live and something to be enjoyed.

That all changed this week in Atlanta. Call it Snow Jam 2014 or “South Parked” as “The Daily Show” comically categorized the mass gridlock and frustration that descended upon our city with 2 to 4 inches of snow midday Tuesday.

Leaving my car at work and setting out on foot for the train station turned out to be one of the greatest transportation decisions I’ve ever made. With luck on my side, the hiking quickly turned to hitchhiking as two kind motorists drove me where I needed to go. Two trains later I got to bum a ride home with neighbors returning from a Caribbean vacation.

Others were not so lucky. It took our company IT director 10.5 hours just to get to his brother’s house, which was still 15 miles from his home west of Atlanta “and 25 miles from where my wife was stranded with our kids after abandoning her car.” He finally returned to his residence more than 50 hours after leaving the office, unfortunately with a cracked rib to show for the epic struggle.

My dear mother also sustained a fall, which came after a slow-speed hit & run on I-285 and before she ditched her car and walked the remaining three and a half miles home in 20 degree weather. All in all, she needed 12 hours to go from the east side of town to the northern suburbs.

Atlanta motorists were seeing red on Tuesday.

Atlanta motorists were seeing red on Tuesday.

“Astonishment sets in that the traffic is moving one car length every five minutes,” she said. “It took one hour to go one mile and thirty minutes on the Roswell exit ramp. [Later], I see cars spinning out and that freaks me out! My ordeal was mixed with many emotions — surprised, annoyed, determined, tired, astonished, scared, exhausted, afraid. But I have to say that was the best glass of wine that I have ever had [when I got home]!” she added.

I am so thankful my mom wasn’t one of the unfortunate souls who had to sleep in their vehicles on the interstate. One report said around 3,000 cars had been abandoned around the metro area.

Many have already taken the critical, political angle regarding Atlanta’s lack of preparation for this winter storm so I won’t tread there. There’s a saying that in trying times we should look around for the helpers. They are always there lending a hand with their small acts of kindness that end up making a big difference. I say thank you to the UPS ladies who delivered me safely to the train station, the young man who helped my tired mother across an icy street after she drove as far as she could go, the selfless teachers who stayed with their stranded students and the many Good Samaritans in businesses, churches and homes who gave freely to those in need.


One Response to “Snow Jam 2014”


  1. The Best of 2014 | bleeveblog - January 11, 2015

    […] many were either forced to stay the night on the interstate or, like my mother, spent 11 hours getting from one suburb to another during Atlanta’s January […]

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