North Carolina and inclement winter weather go together like contact lenses and lemon juice.

It’s not that I don’t love you, North Carolina. But sometimes you just have to let the evidence speak for itself.

Esse Quam Videri

When rain washes away early efforts to prepare roads for the imminent icy onslaught, 28 accidents occur before noon. When officials whose job is to maintain the highest level of public safety possible announce – repeatedly announce – to stay off the roads during a storm that has blanketed Blue Heaven with nearly a foot of snow, somehow enough accidents occur on I-85 to force emergency services to close the road entirely. When cars are abandoned every twenty yards and areas formerly graced with the sweet touch of civilization start to resemble an ice-themed Thunderdome, we’re in trouble. We know we have our problems preparing for and dealing with winter weather and we struggle to meet them, heads held high and buckets of salty tap water at the ready.

But none of those issues, not a single one, compares to the problem we have with bread and milk.

It feels like every time whispers of potential snowfall begin to circulate, a chant begins in every Southerner’s heart. Two words that resonate across generations and divides of all kinds repeat in an endless drumbeat. Bread. Milk.

Sometimes eggs fly off supermarket shelves as well, but it somehow seems that our two major culprits are bread and milk. Bread isn’t very nutritious all on its lonesome, eggs aren’t much good when the power goes out unless you’re on a gas line or the Balboa diet, and milk is… milk. Unless you’re making French toast on your surprise day off, these three things aren’t much use to you when you’re snowed in. Why are we buying these things, besides a minor compulsion to pretend it’s all business as usual?

Bread, milk. Milk, bread. Lines swell at grocery stores, the unspoken social contract of a handbasket-only self-checkout is violated, loving mothers and doting fathers battle it out for the last loaf of Nature’s Own. In a world where only the strong survive and the new currency is supremely perishable goods, North Carolinians are determined to reign supreme.

When tires start to spin on a snowy hill climb, we mash the gas pedal. More gas, more power, more better. When the first snowflake falls, we don our hockey masks and go to war in the dairy aisle. Bread, milk. But when push comes to shove, no one appreciates the relative rarity of frozen precipitation more than the South.

With makeshift sleds and lovingly crafted snowmen, with class cancellation announcements that revive a flagging Tar Heel squad on the hardwood through deafening cheering and a healthy dose of that House of Pain classic we all know and love, North Carolina knows what snow is about.

North Carolina knows how to appreciate snow, and we’ll tell these stories to our grandkids someday. The tales of the legendary Ice Storm of ’02, the internet famous fire on I-40 in 2014 and now of the surprise foot of snow in 2018.