CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – With his rosy cheeks, bushy beard and round belly, local man Ed Hicks is the spitting image of Kris Kringle and is proud of it. For the last twelve years, Hicks has been donning the red coat and shiny boots at Riverside Mall, listening to thousands of children’s Christmas lists. But there’s just one thing this jolly old elf wants, and he wishes for it every year.
“Some people dream of a white Christmas,” Hicks said. “Well, I’m dreaming of a white America.”
Could Hicks’ festive wish for national snowfall ever occur? According to meteorologist Harriet Ingle, it’s conceivable.
“In February 2010, all of the lower 48 states had some amount of snow cover, along with Alaska,” Ingle said. “With Hawaii occasionally seeing snowfall in its mountaintops, a ‘white America’ is possible. Though are you sure that’s what he meant?”
According to Hicks, his vision of a “white America” has been with him since adolescence and he sees no reason to give up hope.
“My daddy and granddaddy told me we came close in their lifetimes, but never quite made it,” he said. “I’ll keep praying, though. Our Lord and Savior’s got a plan. We just need to give him time.”
Giving God time may be an understatement. While the 2010 occurrence certainly keeps Hicks’ dream alive, we asked scientific historian Dr. Martin Weinreb just how long ago the nation last celebrated a “white America.”
“Snow? You’re talking about snow? I mean, I don’t know,” Weinreb said. “Viable records only go back to the late 1880’s so it’s difficult to determine, but…but just let me make a suggestion here. You should stop writing this article right now.”
Despite the naysayers, Hicks plans to keep making Christmas, and America, as white as he can. “It’s become something of an obsession, I’ll admit,” he said.
His enthusiasm is easy to see. Hicks often tells his pint-sized customers their good behavior is “mighty white of them,” and in addition to the heaps of fake snow found in the mall’s North Pole, he insists only white lights be used in Santa’s display.
Asked about this, Hicks gets an undeniable twinkle in his eye.
“White’s got a lot of power,” he said. “I just don’t want any colors ruining it. Simple as that.”