By John Toth
All Christmases are the best, but there is one in particular that stands out among the rest - the Christmas of 2004.
I keep coming back to this one because something very special happened overnight from the time we went to bed on Dec. 24 and woke up on Dec. 25.
Sharon and I heard that there was a possibility of snow, but at the time we owned Wicks ‘N’ Sticks at Brazos Mall and were a little busy with the Christmas rush. We closed the store on Christmas Eve after days of being overwhelmed with customers. We weren’t complaining. It was a good season. We were just dead tired.
There were indications even a week earlier that a frontal wave could dip enough south to bring snow to the area, including Brazoria County. There was talk of the possibility, but come on, in Gulf Coast Texas? What are the chances?
I didn’t pay attention to it. Right before Christmas, the store had to be well stocked and displayed to maximize sales. We also were putting out The Bulletin and running a defensive driving school. Things were a little busy back in those days.
The closer it got to Christmas, the busier we got, and the chances of snow increased. I can’t remember if it started snowing when we closed the store on Christmas Eve. If it did, it was just a few flurries, nothing to get excited over.
The next morning we woke up early, like every Christmas, to wrap some last-minute gifts and hide them in the guest room, where Santa also usually left his presents. Our children were past the Santa stage, but we kept up the tradition, anyway. We also planned to make the traditional sausage balls for Christmas breakfast.
Then the excitement started. The kids woke up and looked out the window. The street, cars, yards, all were blanketed in thick, fresh snow. It was something out of a dream - like we were transported from subtropical Texas to the North Pole.
We all ran outside. Our neighbors admired the snow along with us. Our 6-month-old boxer, Misty, tried to run through the snow and disappeared in it. It was time to make snow angels, snow balls and build a snowman, which daughter Stephanie and sons Bobby and Johnny started working on while gleefully throwing snow at each other.
The boxer finally figured out that the snowfall was bigger than her as she scampered around the yard.
All around Brazoria County, people were taking pictures of this amazing Christmas morning.
“This is the best Christmas present,” Stephanie remarked.
It was, until we started opening presents.
Corpus Christi got 4.2 inches of snow, Victoria 13 inches and Galveston 4 inches. We probably matched Galveston’s total, although it piled up about 6-8 inches on my RV roof in Angleton.
Either way, it was the most snow I had seen in a long time.
I moved here to get away from the snowy and cold winters, but I don’t mind the snow every now and then, as long as it melts quickly, and the weather warms up. I’m not a fan of cold weather. By the next day, the snow had melted, and we returned to normal Gulf Coast winter weather. That’s the type of snow that I like.
The next time I saw that much snow again was on top of Pikes Peak in Colorado in September 2011. Sharon and I drove up the mountain, luckily wearing warm layers of clothing. While it was pleasant on the bottom, the top was engulfed in a winter snow storm.
It was great. We threw snowballs and sank ankle-deep into the snow as we walked to the gift shop for some hot chocolate and doughnuts. We all had our pictures taken by the sign, and in about two hours, Sharon and I decided that was enough snow and started the trip downward.
Two hours of snow and cold was all we wanted. It was a lot of fun - for two hours.
As far as I can remember, the 2004 Christmas is the only white Christmas I have ever seen. There may have been some when I was very small, but I can’t remember anyone even talking about it.
I have lived in plenty of places with four seasons - both in Europe and the United States, but the timing just wasn’t right. I remember some monster snowstorms in all those places, but not on Christmas.
Until it happened right here - on the subtropical Texas Gulf Coast - the white Christmas of 2004.