Thursday, January 31, 2008

Homemade Oatmeal in the ozarks


We get a snow day today!

Funny thing in Missouri, as it's (hopefully) the only snow we get for another year or two...
Funny because school and work were called off, 2 hours before the first flake hit.

We do not know about snow graders here in the south...we do have hard-working salt trucks, that dust the maze of two lane highways, crisscrossing
the woods of the ozarks...but other than that? we just wait until it melts!

Unfortunatly, that usually means that the INSTANT the weather man has called the forcast...there is a retail rush, that can only be seconded only by the pre-hurricane plywood purchases.

I'm worn out and my brain is still wobbly, from the number of presciptions that we dealt out yesterday, to panicking women with overloaded shopping carts.

It's tough on retail workers, but it's just part of the prep...

We have to have groceries, bottled water case the power goes out (wells have to have power to function) and the propane tank needs to be full (oh yes, there is no natural gas for heating in the woods...everyone keeps a tank on the property) and wood needs to be brought in, split, stacked, and covered so that it will be dry and easy to light, if you heat by wood stove. (most do)

Groceries are purchased by the aforementioned cartload. Although our
biggest snowfalls are usually less than 10 inches, and are melted away
in just one day...we still have to buy enough groceries to last us until spring, just in case. (temp forcast for monday are in the 60's)

Then, and only then do we stop. We all just stay home and take a break from the real world. We rediscovers our families.....we eat, read books, watch movies, take naps and have converstations...we stay in our jammie pants and slippers.

It is against the rules to interrupt this family peace with outside visits. The only exceptions being visitors who didn't prep, or who are all-electric. We do open our homes to anyone needing much so that our little town still does not have public shelters available. There is no need. There are churches, and there are neighbors...and everyone is taken care of.

Snow days in the southern states are 24-hour
family respite care.

Little Bill called me from arkansas at about 7am
(BLASPHEME the RULES!! the RULES!!)...and i
answered the phone on the first ring with a hissing,
witchy voice...not even checking the CALLER ID...
"shhhhhh you'll wake the baby!"

Oh yea, the other great thing about snow days, is your
little "bundles of joy" are SUPPOSE to sleep mommy and
daddy that one hour of bonding time that is so elusive during
the school year, and the work week. I was a single mom
when we first started loving snow days...and am thrilled to
discover all sorts of new tradions to add to them :-)

So, I wasn't happy with the BRINGGGGGG of my telephone
exploding into my snuggly morning....and threatening the
peaceful snores coming from molly's bedroom.

My youngest son just laughs, says "my bad" and then????

I hear the squeal of joy come out of him...the same way it
would when he was little and finally saw the words
"west plains R-7" appear on the TV scrolling list of schools closed.

"I'm doing donutsssssss in the parking lot!!!"

In Fayetteville, Ark..where he lives.. 3 hours west and a little south of us...
he gets the weather we're going to get hour prior!!

It's not the forcast reporting that's spilling out of
him this's that snow-day has always
been Bill's favorite holiday of the year!

Ok, you can phone early...but only if you can make me smile that big....

Even when we were in the Pottersville house, 100 years old
with only wood stove heat...(there was a tad bit more preparation
for snow days in THAT house!) it was an awesome holiday.
No matter how broke i was....there were new puzzles, TWO gallons
of milk,(for snow ice cream) a pot of beans on the stove, and corn
bread in the oven.....the boys had developed a special
method to harvest only the cleanest, newest snow for the annual
sno-cream treat.

Food, and the aroma of that food cooking, seem to be at the heart
of the whole deal.... and now, a new tradition......the aroma of a potfull of slow-cooked oatmeal is what you wake up to. (in the south, regardless of HOW many mouths are in your house, you only cook in measurements of 'a potfull' or a 'mess of' ie..."a mess of fried fish').

We added oatmeal the first year Molly was here, and with the first of
what became annual winter trips to the hospital...they hooked me.

Of everything you've ever experienced with hospital food....
they still take the blue ribbon with the morning oatmeal.

I'm not sure if it was the way it
tasted, or it's texture....or maybe it was the joy in
seeing my "failure-to-thrive' baby girl's steroid-induced
appetite dive into the magical mush...I gained a new appreciation
for oatmeal that first trip in.

This crisp morning, there was a big ole pot of long cooked,
brown sugared & buttered oatmeal on the stove when
she finally did wake up.

We'll get to it shortly...for now I'm taking advantage of watching and
sharing in her awe of our new white world....and passing on the traditions
that we've made with this precious non-holiday.

Future plans include a trip to Springfield with tomorrow's thaw....Gabe and Ally find out the sex of my new grandbaby at noon....IF the thaw
man-bill has informed me of another 4-8 inches heading our way.

I cannot WAIT for the first time i get to steal the new one away
to grammy's house....for HER first snow day!


(snow ice cream)

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