Here in Alabama, we take our potential snow days very seriously.  In fact, we are subjected to many a news story about how bread and milk is flying off of the shelves, because apparently, southerners believe they need those things to survive for the 1 or 2 (or maybe 3) days of being stuck at home, fearful to venture out on the roads.

I am not sure where the bread and milk requirement originated?  Perhaps, young families who have children in the house and just cannot run out of milk?  I don’t know.  I don’t remember it being a thing in Mississippi on the few snow/ice events we had.  I remember bottled water being the thing, because when it iced we tended to have some issues with our tap water supply.

Here I am, now, ruminating on last weekend’s winter weather event, here.  I did pop into the grocery on the way home the day before the expected event.  Personally, I am convinced you can determine how seriously the citizenry is taking a forecast by how much bread and milk is left on shelves.  But, I actually LOVE to peruse other people’s winter prep shopping carts.

[My personal choice of emergency grocery supplies generally include butter, flour and eggs.  I tend to have the urge to bake cookies during winter weather.  It is nothing my mother ever did when I was a kid, so I did not pick it up there.  Maybe, because my house gets so cold, and I have to hang around in it for days on end, I enjoy the heat coming from the oven as I cook things.   My other winter weather necessity is bacon.   I think the only time we cook bacon in this house is for snow day breakfast along with scrambled eggs and pancakes.  AHA! There is where I need some milk!]

Back to other people’s carts…

Last week, I watched people at the checkout.  Mind you, this takes a while when snow is forecast, because lots of extra people are at the store, needing to check out.

Cart number 1 was full of refrigerated, portioned, ready to bake cookies.  How about that?  I am not the only one who craves them.  I just make them from scratch because it helps kill time when I am avoiding productive work at home.  When I say, full though, I’m talking 8, 9 packages of cookies.  That’s quite a few cookies. Hope you have a lot of people in your house pal, because that would make me ill.   Don’t forget 3 gallons of milk to go with those yummy, warm sugar bombs.

Cart number 2 – cigarettes, wine, aaaaaand milk.  I feel for you, hon, I don’t want to be trapped for three days either.

Cart number 3 – and this was  my favorite of the day – no milk.  But 13 2-liter bottles of Mountain Dew.   And lots of Ruffles.   Now, ordinarily when I see a cart like that, my assumption is perhaps they don’t really care about the weather. Perhaps they are having a playoff football watch party at their house, and those are snacks for it.  But, 26 liters of Mountain Dew?   Really, if they were having a party, I would think there would be an assortment of different sorts of soda beverages.  So, Mountain Dew is their disaster preparedness fluid of choice.

Stay warm my friends.  Maybe we will get one more icy precipitation event this year.  They are fun!  What’s in your cart?


Last week, I experienced proof-positive that happiness can be contagious.  My extended family (my family, my sister’s family, her in laws and a family friend – 12 of us in all) went on a Caribbean cruise over Christmas week.   On the first night prior to departure, in New Orleans, my husband and I walked into the rest of the group in the hotel lobby and received a very animated “HeyyyYYYYYyyyyy” from them.  It was annoying as hell and very funny as well. The inflection had an effeminate quality, if that helps you to hear it.  Naturally, the HeyyyYYYYYyyyyy immediately caught on, much to my husband’s chagrin.

Everywhere we were, after that moment, you could hear the subgroups of our party issuing the hey call.  It helped us find each other in noisy bars, expansive lobbies and crowded, dark theaters on the cruise ship.  It became our signature.  (We  realized about halfway through the cruise that there was another group using “Dilly, Dilly” as their mating call. It was very funny, too).  If you wanted to find people in the buffet area, all you had to do was walk through sounding “HeyyyYYYYYyyyy” and listen for the answering call.   We had a laughter filled trip!

I did not really realize it, but other people noticed our boisterous, happy group.  We found out, happily, after we had our Secret Santa reveal on the last day of the cruise.  We were sitting in one of the more comfortable sofa groupings in one of the main bar areas, opening, and cheering the cleverness of our gifts (we all drew names and the rest of the cruise, spent time identifying the perfect gift – mind you, one of our 21 year olds drew an 86 year old’s name. It was a fun challenge).

As we sat and laughed and chattered, a couple, about retirement age, came up to us and told us that, “We have been watching  and enjoying all your joy and happiness this week.  Would you allow us to take a picture of your entire group for you to have as a memory?”

Wow.  Just wow.  It made me feel even happier that our joy was outwardly visible.  That it radiated so from us that other people were affected by it.  Happiness is a state of mind.  It may not be possible 100% of the time due to life events and struggles, but a huge component of it is being open to joy.  Let it in, when you are able.