That afternoon, and in the homebound days that followed, Walter, artistic at heart, began creating his first snow sculpture – a life sized triceratops – in our front yard. It was pretty darn spectacular and got a lot of praise from the neighbors. And thus, an obsession was born. Just this morning, as we were talking about tonight’s impending snow, he calculated that he has made a total of 53 snow sculptures.
Climate change and something called the DC snow hole has not given Walter as much to work with the past few years. (He’s still running on the glory fumes of Snowmageddon 2010 when he was able to sculpt to his heart’s content.) He wants to retire someplace snowier. I want to retire someplace beachier. But that’s another post.
In early January, we planned a trip to Charleston. It’s risky planning a trip in winter in our house. Walter worries we will miss the next DC blizzard wile we’re away. But we took our chances and booked a flight and a hotel room near the Charleston City Market. Almost as soon as we arrived, the reports of the possibility of snow in Charleston began. It had been historically cold there, which sadly seems to happen every time we travel south.
We arrived in the afternoon, had a late lunch and saw the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon building before heading back to the hotel. We weren’t hungry for dinner and our daughter, recently out of her teen years, was too tired to do much of anything. And it had started to sleet a bit.
We woke up in the morning ready to hit the town, but one look at the shimmering palm tree outside of our ice-encrusted window made us realize that travel might be a little complicated. A well-known walking city, we decide to brave it to a breakfast place Walter had heard about. (Our hotel had no restaurant.) It was a treacherous walk but we made it safely. The restaurant was attached to a market and we stocked up on some wine, cheese and crackers….just in case. We took a surging Uber back to the hotel and watched the storm develop from the lobby. Fellow hotel guests were checking out, despite the fact that the airports had already closed. They wanted to get to the train station before the bridges heading in ad out of town closed.
The snow began sometime before noon. The town was quite delighted. They hadn’t seen snow in years. The coating of white made it easier to walk on the icy sidewalks, so we eventually lit out in search of food, tourism, and shopping. None of it was to be found. Charleston had closed.
We came upon some hotel employees that had made their own shovels out of broom sticks and plywood, and some cruise ship personnel who had never seen snow before and we realized we were in a special place. However, the special place didn’t include anywhere to eat, drink, or conduct commerce, It was really cool, but we were missing the city altogether!
Walter decided to make the most of the situation and amassed a pile of snow in our hotel’s empty parking lot. The hotel doormen chipped in. The Weather Channel, also stuck at our hotel began asking questions. Before long, he had made a pineapple – a symbol of Charleston’s hospitality. And he had created a media frenzy.
Our flight out of town was cancelled, and we eventually caught the flu in the rental car we drove home, but we were still a few months away from the trip we are able to endorse the interesting time we had.
By the end of the day, we returned to our hotel which had cobbled together - a buffet of mediocre Italian food. The Weather Channel staff were there. Walter got his money’s worth out of the vacation. It was almost the only snow we say this year. Sad he had to go south to find the snow.