I like to whine about Knoxville’s lack of snow. I like weather-related school closures as much as the children do and it’s no secret that I love being stuck in the house with my family. I am privileged to have the luxury of such petty complaints. Knoxville is sheltered from most severe weather by the mountains and trees that surround it. This is a small town of people who care about each other. We bicker politics and sports is its’ own religion, but underneath it all is a community of good people.
My family moved to Memphis when I was just 5. In my mind, I can clearly see the house we lived in for those first few years there. Like most middle class Southerners, my parents bought a spot in an unbuilt subdivision outside of the city limits. We watched the house built and moved into it with only three other completed houses on our street. Over the years, the neighborhood filled and grew until we were part of the city. A large mall was built within walking distance where I practiced learning to drive and how to park in a parking space. Eventually, the original neighborhood residents, including my family, moved out yet further from the city. I graduated from a private high school that offered all of its’ graduates a scholarship to a nearby private university. The people who I went to school with have teenagers at that college now. Yes, I’m old.
Mother nature doesn’t like Memphis. Spring was guaranteed to bring creek flooding and the summers were deadly to the elderly. No winter was free from ice storms that dragged power lines to the ground and made the streets like glass. I can remember storms taking out our power for weeks at a time. Tornado season brought on the creepy, still air that felt like it would suffocate you, followed by the violent, loud destruction that seemed to always happen at night. I still find the storm shelters that everyone in the community huddled in during the storms to be creepier and more frightening than any cemetery. Then, there are the earthquakes. I remember the feeling of the earth becoming sand and the buildings rocking as if they were boats on the ocean. Everyone in Memphis knows that “the big one” will flood the city.
I say it over and over again, because I believe it to be true. This is a very small world. We are all connected. When bad things happen, it isn’t some stranger in a strange land. It’s someone’s family, friends and neighbors.
I’m still going to whine about the absence of snow in Knoxville.