Southerners & Ice = Oil & Vinegar.

I haven’t been able to go to work for 2 days this week. It’s cold. It’s more than cold. It’s frigid and icy and there’s still snow on the ground. Y’all know that it’s ALWAYS 800 degrees and never snows in the South. Surely you can understand why Southerners get a little upset and panicky. We just aren’t equipped with proper tools to handle it. This winter storm brought lots of ice and a bit of snow to my neck of the woods, Charleston, SC. The county where I live could not keep up and the main bridge kept icing over, thus, my 2 days off from work.  Today the bridge is open and I was able to go in. My boss is going to be out of the office so I don’t care what I wear. I throw on a long-sleeve tee and a pair of jeans that were folded on my dresser.  I rush out the door and head into work.

On the drive in, I hit small patches of black ice. That’s a little scary, I think, but no worries, it’s warming up and the black ice is melting. I drive down a beautiful piece of road that is adorned with giant oak trees on my normal route. I notice that chunks of ice are falling from the trees but dismiss it with little thought. Then I pull up to the stop light that is under an overpass to get on the highway.  A HUGE hunk of ice falls off the overpass onto the sidewalk.  “Hmm”, I thought. “It never occurred to me that ice from tall things might fall down and might hit my car. I wonder if the Dept. of Transportation has figured this out?” I continue to dodge falling pieces of ice on my entire commute.

To further complicate my ride into work, my clothes felt funny. My shirt was choking me. I kept tugging and tugging and nothing. I lean forward to adjust my shirt from the back – nope, not working. I’m fighting with my clothes so much that swerve into the lane next to me. Oh thank goodness that no one was there. I decide it’s best to suffer until I get into to work.

The moment – and I mean the moment I pull into the parking lot – I slam my car into park, jump out and start fighting with my clothes. No wonder my shirt feels funny, it’s on backwards. Oh well, can’t fix it out here, I’ll just adjust my boobs so they fit better until I get inside. Once my t-shirt ordeal is resolved, I realize that the pants I’m wearing are the ones that are way too big and were pulled out to go to Goodwill. They literally fall off my butt. Thankfully, I caught it before my thighs were exposed. [Let me back up for a second. I noticed that very few cars were in the parking lot this morning. So, when I jumped out of my car, I failed to scan if there was anyone sitting in any of the few cars near me.] It’s at the exact moment that I’m pulling up my pants and adjusting my boobs that I lock eyes with a business man sitting in his car, directly behind me. He got front row seating to The Half Monty. Just great. There’s no recovery from this. All I can do is smile, wave, and run away in embarrassment and pray he doesn’t get on the elevator with me.

I finally make into the office and turn my t-shirt the right way and staple my pants to fit. As luck would have it, I got the notice that the bridge that I barely survived 20 minutes earlier is closed, again, due to huge chunks of ice falling and causing damage to cars. Yep, the DOT finally figured it out.

Great! Now I’m stuck at work. Who knows how long I’ll be here. The only other route to get home has been traffic laden since the day before because of the bridge/road closures. Every 30 minutes, I keep checking the news to see if/ when the bridge will reopen. Finally, I stumbled upon a website that keeps track of the bridge closure. Thank goodness because that’s much easier than scrolling through the news websites.

http://isthecooperriverbridgeclosed.com/

cooper.river

I finally get home at 7:30. I’m not complaining, some people were injured due to the ice and there were many traffic accidents all week long. My friends and family were spared from any of that. I do live in the BEST place in the US. Sure, we’ll have drama in another 5-10 years when it snows. I’ll take it. The years in between are the sweet life.

The Least of These is Cold.

Y’all, I live in the DEEEEEP South, right on the coast. You can bet your bottom dollar that when Yankees are dredging through the winter, Charlestonians (SC, not WV) are in flip-flops. Flip-flops are the official state shoe, after all.

rainbow-sandals1

Today is different. Today, the entire country is shivering. So much so, that the county in which I live is delaying the opening of schools in anticipation for temps in the mid-teens (Fahrenheit). Why? We won’t have ice or snow to fight in the AM despite the super-cold weather. My sister lives outside of Chicago. She and her family are dealing with negative temps. If she goes outside for more than 10 minutes with inadequate coverings, she risks frostbite. South Carolinians risk catching a cold. Surely we are being a tad dramatic about this!?!

At the exact moment I was beginning my soapbox diatribe of how Charlestonians are slightly dramatic (Ok, who am I kidding? We’re so over-the-top whiny that we give teenagers a run for their money in the drama department when it comes to cold weather) God convicted me on how unbelievably blessed my friends/family and I are just for living here in Charleston. He then reminded me of my first-hand contact with “The Least of These” in the Charleston area.

As a paralegal, I’ve worked with families supervised by the Department of Social Services (DSS) that my attorneys were court-appointed to represent. I’ve also been a partner-liaison for HALOS (http://www.charlestonhalos.org). I’ve accompanied DSS workers to their clients’ homes in both capacities. Folks, it’s not pretty. It’s down-right heartbreaking most of the time. These are the families that are suffering most right now. They have barely any $ to keep food on the table and keep the heat on, let alone, buy warm winter coats for their kids, especially if we have an atypical, cold winter. These families are most dependent upon public transportation for school/work/grocery stores. These are the kids who will be waiting at the bus stops today, in the cold, with grossly inadequate coats. I don’t know the reason behind Charleston County delaying opening the schools, but I think it’s safe to say that they were thinking of the poorest families most affected by this weather. Charleston Halos

Photo credit unknown (squidoo.com/homeless2hopeful)

Photo credit unknown (squidoo.com/homeless2hopeful)

I’m being called to do something about this – to keep these kiddos warm. So, I’m asking everyone I know to help my kids & me collect new scarves, new hats, new gloves and new or gently-used coats for these families. I don’t know logistics yet, so details will follow. Initial thought is for donations to go to Agape Ministries (http://www.agapeministriesofcharleston.org/index_splash.htm), Crisis Ministries (http://www.crisisministries.org) & Charleston Halos. Surplus or older, not-so-gently used donations will go to Goodwill. Email me if you want to help. If you live far away from me, then start your own coat drive.

Crisis Ministries                                             Agape Ministries of Charleston, Inc.

Please, please help the Least of These stay warm. We will do our best to immediately disburse within 24 hours of receiving donation.

Thanks y’all.
Many, many BLESSINGS and stay warm.
acarolinemcl@outlook.com