PATSY R. BRUMFIELD: Snowfall, be sublime both ways

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

The snow was nice to look at, but I suspect we’re all ready for it to sublime, even if the temps don’t allow for a full-scale melt.
No, I am not talking dirty.
Sublime is a word I learned from my engineer daughter.
It means to change from a solid to a gas, without going through a liquid state.
Of course, we liberal arts majors most often think about sublime as that which inspires awe or admiration through grandeur or beauty.
This snowfall event qualifies for both.
We all awoke Monday to this incredible sight of perhaps the deepest snowfall we’ve seen in Northeast Mississippi in many a year.
It looked sublime.
Now, I want it to be sublime – a fancy term for “gone.”
It started us to thinking about when the region had experienced another such sublime snowfall.
My recollection was in the spring of 1968, when I was an Ole Miss freshman in Oxford.
My high-school sister planned to come up for the weekend, and when I called to tell her we had 11-12 inches of snow, she started to cry because she didn’t want to have to go back to school that day.
Needless to say, the Illinois Central Railroad didn’t let a little snowfall stop its traffic, so by late evening, she arrived in Batesville to be transported back to Oxford.
What she didn’t know was that a few minutes before the train arrived, the car in which I was riding (which belonged to and was driven by my date’s fraternity brother) was a split-second late turning into the depot parking lot, and brought us smack-dab onto the railroad tracks heading north parallel to the depot.
For a moment, we balked along like a bucking horse, much to the horror of the grownups in the depot. A train is coming, they shouted, like we didn’t know that.
We respectfully alighted from the vehicle and someone drove it off the tracks. Next thing I knew, it was parked at the Panola County Sheriff’s Office and we all were being questioned by the authorities, especially about who could best take everyone back to Oxford.
My poor sister, who arrived a complete innocent to the situation, just stood with us in bewilderment, surely wondering, what have I gotten myself into?
The vehicle’s driver wound up spending the night as a guest of Panola County while the rest of us returned, under my drivership, to campus.
It is now one of those legendary tales imparted periodically, especially at times like this.
For years, I called our hapless driver, “Railroad Bill.” It wasn’t his favorite moniker, but perhaps it served as a motivator for him to avoid the ridiculous and make something of himself.
I believe he recently served a term as president of the Alumni Association.
And so, as we all stare out our windows and wish this now hardened precipitation to leave us, feel somewhat intellectual and wish for the sublime.
That is, it’s all been such a visual wonderment.
But, hey, it’s time to get the heck out of here!

Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or

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