Waking up to a winter wonderland happens rarely in Alabama, so it was no surprise to see social media spattered with photos of beautiful landscapes enfolded in a white cloak. Nor to see pitiful snowmen with lots of brown leaves woven into their charming attire amid the happy faces and rosy cheeks of children.

What did surprise me were many posts expressing the beauty, peace and quiet of freshly fallen snow despite it barely camouflaging the landscape.

While spending more than half my life in Michigan, the white stuff was expected from late October through as late as mid-April. Yes, we had a blizzard on April 18 one year imbedded in my memory.

We survived the deadly Blizzard of ’78 when nine days passed before plows made it to our road. Somewhere, there are photos of me standing on a frozen snowdrift so high, it enabled me to reach my hand straight out and touch the top of a 14-foot tree. It was bitterly cold.

Many years ago I experienced the perfect Currier and Ives snowfall. It didn’t begin until after dark. Daytime snow is very pretty, but nothing compares to late night with a half-moon lighting the way.

The heavenly aroma of freshly baked bread wafted through our home as a pot of stew simmered on the stove. Awaiting hubby’s return from a lengthy trip, the children were asleep in their rooms.

One of my favorite, though rare, things to do is to walk in fresh snow in the dark. The stillness is welcome. Everything is serene, tranquil and calm. There is no reason to hurry anything. Yes, it is a Kodak moment.

Donning the necessary gear, I turned off the stove, pulled on my boots and headed for the door. Hubby met me there. It was as if he was transported to my idyllic folly. Spilling my plan, he joined me. One of my favorite memories ever, it was divine.

Gloved hand in gloved hand, we left our home, headed for our half-mile-long gravel driveway. Street lights in the far distance provided a backdrop, but we relied solely on the moon’s reflection on the deeply blanketed ground as gigantic flakes drifted and danced their way to the terrain amid a vacuum, as there was zero wind.

It was mystic, as the only audible sound was our breathing and soft words. For most of the walk to the highway and back, we remained silent, simply taking in the beauty of the earth enveloped in feathery snow and silence.

We chatted, teased and merely enjoyed one another in Mother Nature’s gorgeous panorama. Oh, to experience that once again.

That night was a moment to relive over and over and secretly wish it could or would happen again, but alas, it was far too perfect to ever recreate.

In the silence once again, my heart nearly burst with gratitude for the blessings before me: healthy children snug in their beds, the love of my life at my side, a warm, inviting home with warm, wholesome nourishment awaiting.

Hubby stopped as we neared the house and, placing his strong hands gently on my shoulders, turned me toward him. Bending slightly, he kissed me in the moonlight, gently yet passionately. He whispered that he loved me, and I echoed the sentiment. We embraced for a long moment.

Then — typically, I might add — he scooped a handful of snow from a nearby post and smeared it all over my face. The fight was on. It wasn’t the snowball fight of the century, but it was definitely delightful, eliciting squeals from me and uninhibited laughter from him.

Lightheartedly, we played with the abandonment of young children as we made snow angels. He stuffed a handful of the freezing stuff inside my collar and patted me on the back in the exact spot, all the while grinning like the proverbial Cheshire cat.

Smiles appear as these memories are relived yet again. Yes, it was like a scene from a Hallmark movie, but long before we had ever seen one.

Regardless of circumstances, optimism and a determined happiness have been an envious part of me. Sweet, cherished memories like this one renew that joy, peace and love as if it was yesterday.

Do you have special moments with someone that you will always treasure? Most likely, you do; however, if you don’t jot them down in a journal, notebook or whatever, they may escape your grasp. That would be a pure pity.

Snow was a way of life for many of my years. Yes, we grew to detest it, because it meant cold, ice, hard work and hazards of slipping, sliding and crashing on the road or the steps. However, such memories created are priceless and cherished.

— A coal miner’s daughter born in Appalachia and schooled in Michigan, she currently lives in rural Athens. Hill describes herself as a cook and cookbook author, jack of all trades and master of none, a Christian wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She shares her home with her husband, Bob, and their spoiled-beyond-belief dog, Molly.

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