Tail of the Weak 3.2
Updated: Jan 25
Tail of the Weak is a series of insights and musical memories from the mind of Uncle Dave Griffin, singer/songwriter and founder of the Annual Gram Parsons Guitar Pull and Tribute Festival, from Waycross, Georgia.
Oh, the weather outside is frightful
But the fire is so delightful
And since we've no place to go
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
—“Let It Snow” by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne
It snows about as much in Waycross, Georgia as it does in Hollywood, California, which is where the famous song was written by lyricist Sammy Cahn and composer Jule Styne, during a heat wave in July of 1945.
Although “Let It Snow” never once alludes to Christmas time, it is a staple on radio stations during the holiday season and has been covered by everyone from Ella Fitzgerald and Andy Williams to Carly Simon and Rod Stewart. I love the song and have listened to it time and again, many times while sporting a pair of cargo shorts, a Crosby, Stills, and Nash t-shirt, and flip-flops 'cause that's just how it can be in south Georgia during the winter.
I was going through a divorce the last time we had a decent snowfall in Waycross—on Christmas day, 1989. Working at the local post office, I would always put my name on the Overtime Desired List so as to make that double time-and-a-half pay, which would always come in handy in January when I would pay off the Christmas bills—everything from Teddy Ruxpin and Cabbage Patch dolls to outdoor playhouses and swingsets for my young daughter, Megan.
I had sat through the Driver Safety Class, taught by Jimmy Scurry, for the postal delivery vehicles; but, all the training in the world couldn't help me when it came to driving on ice and snow in Waycross, Georgia. Though I slipped and slid as I delivered precious Express Mail packages to anxious families, I never left the road or touched another vehicle.
You'd have to go back 16 more years to March of 1973 for the next snowfall that amounted to any ground cover. I was only 19, living at home with my folks on Doghill, next door to my old buddy, James Cocke. We snapped a couple photos in his backyard to send to brother Gary, stationed in Cornwall, England with the Air Force, just to prove the miraculous chain of events.
He believed it alright because, after deferring to his elephantine memory to go any further back, he came up with the snowfall of early 1958—but, by that time, we had already moved to Tripoli, Libya and missed out—which leads to the question, “If it snows in Waycross and you're not there to see it, does it really hit the ground?”
So, based on my calculations, we'd had considerable white powder once about every 21.3 years—not counting the years I snorted cocaine. Just kidding! Not really! No, really!
Then along came January 3, 2018. All the conditions were perfect. The polar jet stream pushed down from the north. The subtropical jet stream provided lift in the atmosphere, pulling in moisture from the Gulf of Mexico. Coupled with the below-freezing temperature and my wife, Lynne, getting sick—she was sick the last time it snowed in '89—Winter Storm Grayson (not named after my great-nephew up in Gainesville) made our childhood dreams come true once more.
I spent the afternoon with my six-year-old granddaughter, Hannah Johnson, and her daddy, Justin—who was only six during the Christmas snow 29 years ago—marveling at the winter wonderland, pecking icicles off my equipment trailer, and wondering if the tadpole pond would ever be the same. Back inside, I took to Facebook to see more pics of my daughters' beautiful children, Wyatt and Millie, enjoying the rare weather northeast of us in Patterson.
In the refrigerator, I found the last legs of our Christmas turkey leftovers and put on a big pot of soup to take the chill off. As I sipped and spooned, it hit me—now because of Winter Storm Grayson—the law of averages for Waycross snow had just dropped to every 16 years.
8th Annual Swamptown Getdown Music and Arts Festival
March 9-10, 2018
Okefenokee Fairgrounds : Waycross, Georgia Advance Weekend Passes:
YouTube Memories straight from the mind of Uncle Dave Griffin