January 27, 2014 they predicted flurries in Paulding County and most of the northern Atlanta suburbs. It appeared that the snow would impact the southern suburbs. But being born and raised in NJ, I remember the weather forecasts – “flurries” usually meant a significant snowfall and “blizzard conditions” usually meant a sprinkle with a day off for the kids. And my memory has not failed. Today we saw about 3 inches of snow, but more than that, we saw kids stranded at school, cars abandoned on the roadways and traffic nightmares that lasted for hours.
Atlanta is not a city prepared for this kind of weather. We don’t have the equipment like the northern cities, where sanders are always lined up on area highways ready to go after rush hour to prepare the roads. The city of Atlanta, which serves at least five major highways feeding into it, has fewer than 40 sanding trucks – you do the math, and they were not lined up on area roadways, although they were ready to go. We don’t have a mass transit system out of MARTA which only reaches a small area. So as offices, businesses and schools closed, everyone converged on the area roadways at once. And the perfect storm occurred.
But through it all, there are things to celebrate. The peacefulness of sitting at home watching the snow fall. Unlike the sloppiness of rain, snow just calms me. It is so pretty and tranquil as it winds its way to the ground. And the white covering on our lawns is a reminder of nature, and how seasons change. Yes, the ice will form and make it difficult to drive. I get it. I still love it!
And more than all of that, I am reminded of the kindness of strangers. As I read through the updates on Facebook disappointed in so many pointing fingers at schools that didn’t close early, drivers in a hurry, and more, I stopped to read about a neighbor in the Seven Hills/Bentwater area that announced her plans to make runs to local schools to pick up and deliver stranded students to their homes in the neighborhood. Yes, there are kind people in this world – and right here at home.
Throughout metropolitan Atlanta people were helping each other. People opened their homes. Neighbors with four wheelers made multiple runs to help stranded drivers, pick kids up at school, and more. Information was shared. Support was offered, even if it was to just listen. A Facebook Group was formed to help people they needed help and where. Krogers, Home Depot and other stores opened their doors to stranded motorists. Churches and shelters opened. Neighbors helping neighbors.
We may not see each other every day, but we are there for each other when needed. It’s why we live in neighborhoods. It’s one of the amenities you don’t have to pay for. It’s not a subdivision thing, it’s a neighborhood thing. It’s about living in a community where people care. That’s why we live here. Sound like something you’d like?