"I'm Dreaming of a Rainy Christmas", Mississippi's Holiday Song

SOMEWHERE (ELSE) IT'S SNOWING FOR CHRISTMAS!
SOMEWHERE (ELSE) IT'S SNOWING FOR CHRISTMAS! | Source

My Christmases aren't white--they're often wet!


I grew up in the southern section of Mississippi, USA, and have lived a lot of my life in this area. Even when I lived in Louisiana or Texas, I often returned to Mississippi for Christmas. During these many decades, at no time do I recall experiencing a snowy Christmas in this familiar place, such as the white one Bing Crosby sang about in the classic 1942 movie, Holiday Inn . The song White Christmas was the most popular tune from that movie, and remains a standard during the Christmas season even today.

As a girl, I felt incredibly cheated never to have snow at Christmas like I saw in movies and read about in books. Both sets of my grandparents lived close by, so there was no “….over the river and through the woods….” Well, there were some woody areas along the roadway to be traversed, but no fluffy snow clung to the tree limbs. If “rip-off” had been a part of the lexicon in those days, I feel certain I would have used that phrase when alluding to my annual Christmas weather. It just didn't seem fair to a child with a vivid imagination.

Wet? Non-stop rain for days? Soggy lawn and tracking in mud on one’s shoes? Now, that’s the kind of Christmas that comes to mind when I think of all my Mississippi Christmases. The images of yesteryear holidays are conjured up by the rain that often begins falling here before Christmas Eve and continues into December 25 and beyond. Now, this is like the Christmas of my memories. Rain, rain and more rain!

I must be candid and state that, even with days of rain, when temperatures hit the 40s and 50s, Fahrenheit, it seems more in keeping with winter (if not that “winter wonderland” of another holiday song) than many past Christmas weeks that required air conditioning to endure. Sultry humid weather does not fit the picture Bing’s Christmas dreaming brings to mind.

Sometimes temperatures soar into the upper 70s here in late December, signaling the imminence of thunderstorms and, at least once within my memory, more than 30 years ago, a severe tornado that hit much too close to where I lived and caused a great deal of damage just before the holiday. That was a sad Christmas for many of my neighbors.

In my forties and early fifties, I lived in the Dallas suburbs, where it does sometimes snow (or sleet, which at least creates white icicles) at Christmastime. The ironic thing is that, every time it snowed while I made my home there, I’d gone “back home” (read: Mississippi) to visit family. The snow or ice always melted by the time I returned to Texas.

I must confess it occasionally sleets and sometimes even snows lightly in Jackson, Mississippi, these events usually separated by a span of several years. It does not, however, snow in December, when we might be able to share the White Christmas experience. The coldest days of the year in my neck of the woods occur in late January or February, and those months are the ones most likely to provide frozen precipitation. The snow, if it sticks at all, is usually measured in three or four inches, and more often than not, melts beneath a suddenly appearing sun by afternoon.

Do I seem to be complaining? Let me hasten to assure you this is not so. As an older adult, I’m quite content to stay indoors when the weather outside is wet or cold, especially if rain and lower temperatures are combined. I enjoy snuggling under a warm throw as I read a book or watch a movie and nibble on popcorn. If it gets cold enough, I may even light a wood fire in my under-used fireplace.

One of the advantages of aging is that younger family members are willing to come to you during the holidays. They may not all arrive at once, so there’s the feeling of celebrating the holiday multiple times.

Shoveling snow is not a part of life where I live

I don't even own a snow shovel!
I don't even own a snow shovel! | Source

The white stuff's pretty--in a picture!

In my lifetime, I’ve enjoyed only one White Christmas, and that was while visiting in a northern clime at the Yuletide. The picture postcard beauty of the scenery was undeniable. The reality of snow in climates where the snow doesn't melt for months must lose its charm as layers are added with each new snowfall until the surface is treacherously frozen. I would not find such conditions as charming as that picture postcard or even a few days spent enjoying other people’s snow. Living in the southern USA, I’ve never had to shovel snow off my sidewalk or been snowbound due to a blizzard.

I've seen snow when traveling, and It is, without a doubt, a pretty sight when big snowflakes are thickly falling. The powdery whiteness soon blankets everything and transforms the ordinary into a fantasy world. Unfortunately, late spring snowfalls in Denver or Nashville simply don't equate to snow at Christmastime...the "White Christmas" of which Bing Crosby crooned.

I’m not really complaining about my rainy Christmases, just relating a fact of life in the Deep South. If I want to look at snow, I can watch one of the many Christmas movies that feature the fluffy white stuff. Photographs of snow-covered landscapes abound on the Internet just waiting for me to peruse and enjoy vicariously. I can be content with pictures of snow, since a white Christmas simply is not part of life where I live. That's okay....

I always check the weather forecast for the week, in hope sunshine is due to put in an appearance in my neighborhood before the big day. When that happens, it’s good news for all the kids who find new bikes or scooters under the Christmas tree. The sun also allows my soggy lawn to dry out before visitors arrive.

It's warmer indoors by the fireplace, anyway.
It's warmer indoors by the fireplace, anyway. | Source

It may look like snow, but . . .

By the way, the snow in the movie Holiday Inn isn’t real, it’s a movie illusion. Much of the movie was filmed on a Hollywood sound stage, with the Village Inn Lodge at Monte Rio, California, cast as the story’s Holiday Inn, which was supposed to be in Connecticut. Bing Crosby’s White Christmas was actually the result of artifice. Tons of artificial snow—in lieu of the real thing—were used in the filming.

“Happy New Year, Y’all!”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

NOTE: As I wrote this, eight days before Christmas 2012 in Jackson, Mississippi, the rain was pouring down. The ten-day extended weather forecast promised--you guessed it! Rain, rain and, of course, more rain! Once more the only snow we Mississippians saw for Christmas was illustrated on greeting cards and the settings of holiday movies on TV. Some things rarely change...and that's okay.



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© 2011 Jaye Denman

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Comments 18 comments

JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 2 years ago from Deep South, USA Author

Nice to meet another southerner, DJ, and glad this hub brought some good memories. If you're ever headed toward Jackson, Mississippi, let me know and I'll put out the welcome mat.

Jaye


DJ Anderson 2 years ago

Oh, Jaye, after your nice comment on my book review, "Resurrecting Tobias", I had to come over and check out your site. When I read that someone is from the south, I must check them out.

The stork dropped my bundle in mid air and I landed in N.E. MS., east of Tupelo, Fulton. I do remember one nice snow when I was in middle school. It was heavenly. I laid under the street lamp to watch those amazing dancing flakes, while making snow angels. Yes! "White Christmas" was my all time favorite Christmas movie. It had it all; great singing, comedy, romance and a reunion that saved a retired military

colonel's pride and his business.

I left MS. after my husband graduated MS. State. My family died out or

moved out of MS. I have not be back in over ten years.

I enjoyed your article about MS. Christmases. I will always love the state

of my birth.

DJ.


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 3 years ago from Deep South, USA Author

Thanks for your comments, Jo. I have family in Tennessee and have always enjoyed visiting your lovely state. My parents lived in the foothills of the Smokey Mountains for years in a little place called "Top of the World", a short distance from Cade's Cove. Lovely...

Last week it was unusually cool here (and I loved the chill mornings), but it hit the 80s with rain again yesterday and the temp's higher again today. Thunderstorms forecast for Thursday. Weather is so changeable here, with temps up and down. The best way to dress this time of year is in layers.

I can only imagine having a white Christmas in Mississippi. It will likely never happen...but I can dream, can't I?

Regards,

Jaye

P.S. I was just reminded that I visited Nashville in early June during the early 90s, which was warm on arrival and snowing two days later when I left! Amazing....to me. I've also experienced lots of snow when in Colorado at times of year when it was hot here in Mississippi.


jo miller profile image

jo miller 3 years ago from Tennessee

Just drove through your beautiful state last week. Temperature was not that different from my home in northern Tennessee at that time, but we do occasionally get snow here. Our first Christmas in this home we had a small ice storm on Christmas Eve. The next morning was very cold and ice covered all the trees in the woods around our house. Everything glistened. The most beautiful Christmas I've ever seen.


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 3 years ago from Deep South, USA Author

Hi, Kathleen....That's probably the best way to occasionally enjoy White Christmases...by visiting someone who gets snow in December. That way, you don't have to shovel snow off the steps!

I haven't owned a heavy coat in years, though my raincoat gets a lot of use. I also keep Wellington-style boots by the back door because, after a week of rain, the ground is slushy. I've been wearing those boots a lot lately.

Thanks for reading and your comment....Jaye


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Every other Christmas my grandchildren go to their other grandparents in upstate NY and get to enjoy a white Christmas. Of course they also get white Easters! I told my 6 year old this year we have Muddy Christmases in Georgia, but the good news is that you don't have to wear a heavy coat.


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 3 years ago from Deep South, USA Author

Thanks, Theresa....Would you believe it's raining now? Ha-ha. We've had so much rain lately I'm surprised my skin's not mildewed!

Thanks for sharing...

Jaye


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Wonderful, wonderful Hub! And our experiences of wet and even warm Christmases without a snowflake in sight are about the same...although you certainly do get more rain in Mississippi than we do in Georgia.:)

Sharing, whether it is Christmas or not. :) ~~Theresa


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 4 years ago from Deep South, USA Author

Thank you, Movie Master. I try to remember (when I'm feeling a bit envious) that all the beauty of a White Christmas comes at a price.

Hope your Christmas was good, as was mine--in spite of the rain. Happy New Year to you and yours!

JAYE


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 4 years ago from United Kingdom

A lovely hub Jaye thank you, we had a white Christmas last year, the first in many years, it was so pretty but a nightmare getting out to do the shopping and visiting!

I hope you had a good one, Happy New Year!


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 4 years ago from Deep South, USA Author

One year I visited California during the Christmas season, and it was even more strange than a Mississippi Christmas. I recall we went to the beach at Malibu and watched surfers on Christmas Eve. That really did not seem like a winter holiday activity to me! I'm sure the surfers found it terrific, though....

Thanks for stopping by and reading this hub. Hope you had a lovely white Christmas this year.

Regards, Jaye


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

I keep having to re-write my comment as my page keeps refreshing...darn computer...Enjoyed reading your hub. Most years I have a white Christmas. The years I lived in California I found a green Christmas very strange.


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 4 years ago from Deep South, USA Author

Hi, Sharon...Thanks for reading, and I'm glad you enjoyed it. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and are heading toward a great New Year!


Sharon C. 4 years ago

I enjoyed your story and can relate to every detail, excluding one. I have shoveled snow. We lived in Scotland for 4 years. However, my years in Aberdeen did not even render a white Christmas.


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 4 years ago from Deep South, USA Author

Thanks for reading, Pat. Glad things are well with you.


Patsy Fleming 4 years ago

Enjoyable read. I am also content!


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 4 years ago from Deep South, USA Author

Thanks for reading and commenting. As you know, there have been plenty of Mississippi Christmases when the shorts were more appropriate than a coat.


Adaire 4 years ago

So true Mississippi Christmas is always a true "wonder" wonder if you need shorts or a coat!

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