The Winter Storm that Wasn’t


After the Weather Channel named Friday’s winter storm after Cleon, I had to find out who he was. Apparently, he was a violent general and grim political leader in Athens.

Thankfully, the ice storm didn’t come as predicted.

For a week, the weather forecast has included a prediction of a December Ice Storm. Since 2009, the words “ice storm” have put fear into people’s hearts. We all experience some level of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after 2009 when Western Kentucky was without power for days or weeks. Ice storms are not uncommon; matter of fact, we experience them every couple of years. This weekend’s forecast was so gloomy, though, that someone at the Weather Channel decided to be clever and name the systems coming through our area. Friday’s storm was christened “Cleon” so that no one would be confused with “Deon,” the system that was supposed to come through today.

Grocery stores were emptied. Gas stations sold all their fuel. Annual holiday events were cancelled. Retailers stood idly by and watched as people rushed to buy generators, candles, and firewood instead of Christmas gifts. Thankfully, the storm didn’t live up to our imagination. Granted, it was bad enough. But the power stayed on (for the most part), and we survived a long weekend with sleet and the occasional spells of freezing rain.

I can hardly think of a winter storm without thinking about my mother. She saved projects for us to do during snow days from school. Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of opportunities to build snow forts, go sledding, and make snow angels. But a kid can only do that for so long. Eventually, boredom kicked in and the chore list came out. We cleaned out closets. We polished wood paneling and kitchen cabinets. We washed curtains. We scrubbed grout and bathroom tiles. We waxed floors. We vacuumed furniture. We stripped our bedrooms down to the walls, making sure every single dust bunny was eliminated from the house. As long as we had electricity, Mom’s workforce marched through her project list. Boredom didn’t exist at the Hailey household — ever.

Maybe that is why, when there’s a potential storm coming, I clean the house top to bottom — starting with projects that require electricity, so that when the power goes out I still have things to do. I can’t crash on the couch during a winter storm and watch movies all day. That would drive me crazy. Instead I cook, I clean, I launder, and I vacuum everything in the house, just like my mother.


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