Southern in: Salt Lake City, UT II


Southern in: Salt Lake City, UT II

Photo credit: Don Busath, Courtesy of

Photo credit: Don Busath, Courtesy of

  Here in Salt Lake City, the winter season is officially upon us. The ski resorts opened up in full force last week, just in time for the Thanksgiving crowd and Temple Square is decorated with such beauty and enthusiasm, I'm imagining that it would give the North Pole a run for its money. Christmas and winter are taken on with a zeal that is almost indescribable here in America's Zion. Seriously, if Yuletide were a sport, Utah would be world champion of the extreme version. It is an absolutely magical time of year. As a southern transplant from coastal North Carolina, I’ve been transported to the winter wonderland that I've always romanticized while sitting on my mama's porch swing after Christmas dinner, wearing shirtsleeves and glad for the scent of burning leaves because it made the air feel a little more crisp and seasonal.

My first personal experience with Utah snow was a true baptism by fire, or ice as it were. By the end of October in our first winter here, I was four months pregnant. This was also the winter of the swine flu epidemic and there was an extreme shortage of vaccines. About a week before Halloween, I found a town in Northern Utah that was giving out vaccines in a convention center on a first come, first served basis. So about 3:30 or 4 in the morning, I headed north to get in line.

About 45 minutes into my hour-long journey north, the night sky opened up and snow began to pour like I have never seen snow pour in my life. Did I mention it was the week before Halloween? Who would have thought!? Snowflakes fell that looked like the ones that decorate children’s classrooms. I'm talking the size of silver dollars. It was beautiful until I realized I was going to be standing in it for the next 4-5 hours with no shelter and no life experience to prepare me for this; then it became not only awesomely beautiful, but also concerning. Just imagine: hundreds of people, huddled outside in the decaffeinated darkness of pre-dawn, wrapped around the perimeter of a convention center in a town that doesn't believe in Starbucks. It was like some clandestine pregnancy expo in a snow globe.

That morning I left the house wearing jeans, sweater, a coat, and running shoes. I quickly learned the following lessons:

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First, every season, purchase gloves in bulk at the dollar store in and put them in every pocket of everything that you own. Do this both for yourself and so you can pass along a bit of warmth and kindness should you see some poor Southerner trying to find ways to warm her hands in ways that are so creative and desperate that they’re beginning to flirt with obscene. Yep – that was me, the unintentionally obscene, gloveless, Southern pregnant lady in northern Utah – and I will never, as long as I live, forget the man who pulled the extra pair of dollar store gloves out of his pocket to save my fingers from frostbite.

Secondly, there is truly no value that can be placed on good socks. Good socks are just beyond critical. Do not under any circumstances, if there is even the potential of cold rain, leave the house in the same socks that you wear jogging in July. The word is ‘WOOL.’ In fact, I even recommend putting back up socks in any pocket not occupied by gloves. Also, just because you lost feeling in your toes several hours ago, does not necessarily mean that they are going to fall off (you just cannot even imagine my relief)!

So by about 9:30 I had received my vaccine, the sun had come out and it had become apparent that both me and my unborn child were going to survive our first serious snow. As I was driving home, still trying to bring feeling back into my poor, numb toes, I saw it: a beacon of beautiful, bright orange neon radiating across the land like a sign from The Almighty himself and it read “Hot Doughnuts Now.” I could not believe my eyes, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts in Layton Utah! Ladies and gentleman we are talking about a miracle, a true example of Southern salvation in all of its warm, sticky glazed, glory, hallelujah!

It was, without a doubt, the single best doughnut that has ever graced my lips.

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