12/23/07 — Snow? Some kindergarteners think so

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Snow? Some kindergarteners think so

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on December 23, 2007 2:00 AM

Be prepared to wax the sleds and dig out the snowsuits, hats and gloves. Snow is coming back to Wayne County this year.

At least, that is what the junior forecasters in a kindergarten class at Tommy's Road Elementary School will tell you.

They know all about snow, they will say -- when it's coming, how it forms, everything. But, don't let the young ones fool you.

More seasoned residents, like the ones on the Wayne County Board of Commissioners, know a few things about "great snows."

They have lived them.

Atlas Price, 77, remembers snow that fell years ago.

"We've had some big ones," the Wayne native said. "We used to have a lot of snow. We had snow all during my years of growing up."

But unlike for children today, snow days, though enjoyable, weren't all fun and games.

"You just got a chance to split more wood and try and stay warm. We'd also have to do more to look after the animals," Price said. "You didn't get time off. You might have gotten time off from school, but then you had to come home and work."

He remembers hearing his parents talk about a big one in 1927.

And he remembers in 1947 when a cycle of snow and ice from Thanksgiving through February gave Wayne County a white Christmas.

Price even remembers weeks in the 1950s when the temperatures couldn't climb out of the 20s and the ground froze solid for months on end.

He even remembers a few occasions in the 1980s when the U.S. Army National Guard had to open up the highways after winds created drifts more than waist deep.

But best of all, Price remembers being 5 years old in 1935.

That year, he said, a Christmas snow left the white powder so deep on the ground, his father had to shovel paths from the house to the barn, to the mailbox and to all the places they needed to go.

"My dad shoveled out all around the house and I rode my new tricycle all along those walkways," he said.

For John Bell, though, it's 1948, that stands out the most.

He was 13 and growing up in Sampson County.

"I remember we used to get a lot of snow when I was growing up. Every season, we'd get snow, but we got a ton that year," he said. "Back then, though, you didn't let snow stop you. You got right out in it.

"I don't even think we owned a car. Everybody was walking anyway. We'd get out and play in it -- snowball fights, snowmen, snow cream, all that stuff."

Unfortunately, they continued, those days seem to be increasingly rare. The winters are getting warmer and those big snowfalls less frequent.

"I've seen a change," Price said. "It's different than it was."

For the kindergartners though, the last time it snowed was last year, and the year before that.

It always snows on Christmas, they all agreed.

But where does snow come from?

Now that is a question that takes some thought.

Marcus Thompson took a few seconds, then said, "The clouds let the rain fall down, then it turns to snow."

Hailey Goff agreed.

The clouds let the snow go, she said, whenever they wanted to.

For Kali Mooring, it's the sky that does the work.

But snowflakes are the things that actually make snow fall, Cristian Cevallos said.

"Snow comes from snowflakes. The snowflakes come from rain, and then the sun sucks the rain out, and we get snow," he said.

For Darrius Best, though, rain gets rid of snow.

"When it rains, it melts the snow," he said. "I don't want that."

Nicholas Hildebrant took a different avenue.

He said he knows snow comes from ice, but the snow is better than ice.

"It's not too slippery," he said.

The rest of the class had a few more theories, including Tanner Griffin's idea that snow comes from cold.

"When it's cold, it just snows," she said.

But what really happens, Kirsten Aycock said, is that the "clouds evaporate the lake, then that turns to rain or snow."

The kindergarteners don't care how the snow gets to the ground. What really matters is: When can they play in it?

Cyril Cooper remembers when the last time was that he played in the snow.

"Last year, when I went out to play in the snow, my mom took a picture of me because I was eating the snow," he said.

It wasn't bad, he said. It tasted like ice.

Shannon Wise said she liked to eat snow, too.

To her, snow tastes like "a mix of ice and water together."

"It's good," she added.

But as they continued talking about coming in from the cold after a day making snowmen, snow angels and snowballs, the children's attention turned toward what the white powder usually means to them -- Christmas and presents from the jolly man in the big red suit.

Future scientist Dominique Prather wants Santa to bring her a telescope so she can "see all the stars," while Deniese Yelverton is hoping for a laptop that she "can type all night on."

Both Aaliyah Hobbs and Ja'Kaih Ballard will let their imaginations run wild when she gets a Bratz babydoll and he a red Power Ranger.

For Alan Romero-Noriega, a remote-controlled airplane that can fly "everywhere" has captured his fancy, while a dirt bike is just what will make Tristan Collins happy.

And future cooking enthusiast Ayana Tucker just wants something she can practice on -- her own small kitchen set.

Maybe she can make those cookies that Kris Kringle will be eating this snowy Christmas Eve.