At first, it was only a gentle tapping of sleet against the window, but it was enough to waken me, suggesting that something more than a cold rain might be in store.
The forecasters had seemed confident of snow, so I got up and began watching. Before long, flakes appeared: not many, and not so dramatic as those recorded earlier in the evening by people all along the coastal plain, but flakes nonetheless. Despite the hour — 4 a.m. — there was only one thing to do. I put on a pot of coffee, and got dressed.
By six o’clock, an inch had fallen. Temperatures along the water always are a few degrees warmer than those farther inland, so our snow was a bit slushy; it didn’t accumulate on the grass, and began melting almost immediately on plants. Still, on rooftops, table tops, and the cold fiberglass of boats, it stayed until well after dawn.
Even run-of-the-mill rooftops took on new interest with the addition of snow.
Enjoying the morning’s novelty, I remembered a poem published in the Galveston Daily News on February 14, 1895. On that day, a truly significant snowstorm struck the Texas coast, piling up from 21 to 28 inches of snow. The anonymous author of a slightly awkward verse titled “The Texas Coast Land” first described the delights of the Texas coast — flowers, birds, sand, and gentle breezes — and then concluded:
If you think it doesn’t freeze here,
Ne’er grows cold and never snows here,
Then you surely should have been here
On the day you see below here.
For it surely was a hummer
And proved it is not always summer
In the Texas coast land.
Comments always are welcome.
For an account of the famous — and far more substantial — 2004 Christmas Eve snow known locally as “The Christmas Miracle,” please click here.