Day 4: December 25, 2010
A Sincerely White Christmas
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According to the newspaper, this the first real Christmas Day snow Chattanooga has had in forty-one years. On last year's Christmas drive, I was accompanied by record snowfalls in Oklahoma and Texas. I don't think today's precipitation will be a record but it is significant and it is unusual. Hopefully my streak ends at two or the National Weather Service will be chaining some sort of tracking device to me.

These pictures are from about 7:30 this morning. What kind of looks like fog in that first picture is really falling snow. It has accumulated about an inch on the rail (although that would soon melt) and the boarding ramp. Most paved areas on shore are still clear but snow is accumulating elsewhere. It is still falling.

It was still kind of dark at 8:00 when the Gingerbread family went out to look at the snow starting to accumulate on the paddle wheel. Yes, another "other kid" is gone and it's just Mom, Dad, and the twins. Tragic.

Breakfast was to be available on board this morning and I had planned to partake. The snow, however, put a little wrinkle in that with the cook apparently deciding not to come down off the ridge. Jeremy, who normally mans the hotel's main desk, dived right in and soon had scrambled eggs, fruit, pastries, and juice at the ready. I think there were probably only a half dozen or so passengers who benefited from from Jeremy's extra effort but it was definitely appreciated by those of us who did.

Although I stepped outside to take it, the first picture is essentially the view from my room. The snow mutes everything and gives it a black & white flavor. There were a few clear periods, but snow fell almost steadily throughout the morning. Shortly after noon, with the snow fall very light, I decided I had to go on shore to check things out. By the time I got myself together the snow had picked back up and huge fluffy flakes filled the air as I stepped off of the Queen.

The Delta Queen is tied up at Coolidge Park which is overlooked by the 1890 Walnut Street Bridge. The bridge has long been pedestrian only. That fluffy snow sure makes everything look soft. Among the park's attractions is a carrousel and a fountain where people frolic in the summer. The fountain is augmented by water squirting animals. The water is, of course, turned off in the winter and today several inches of snow covered both fountain and animals. A lot of Chattanoogians were out enjoying the snow and some of them had built a snowman at the entrance to the bridge. On the bridge, where little or no snow appears to have melted, it looks to be about five or six inches deep. I walked out until I was even with the Delta Queen then turned back toward shore.

Around 3:00 I decided to go exploring a bit farther afield but it was already too late. Temperatures were in the thirties and, while there was still plenty of snow on the ground, snow on objects was gone or well on the way to slush. I drove across the river but didn't even stop. Almost no businesses were open and whatever beauty the snow had created was going fast. When I returned to the Delta Queen, it was brought to my attention that several inches of precipitation can make exposed surfaces wet.

Around 6:00 I headed back to the south side of the river where some restaurants, in particular the Hair of the Dog Pub, were opening. Inside for the first time, I discovered that the Hair of the Dog is a tall thin place where food and beverages get to the second floor via a dumb waiter (and a smart waitress). The bangers & mash were quite good as was the draft Yuengling Porter.

Today's background features the Christmas tree and chairs in the sitting area outside my room on the Delta Queen. No furniture was harmed in making it although some was moved slightly. And, thanks to Facebook friend Gary Gilmore, I've learned of the perfect soundtrack to this snowy day.

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