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Thursday, January 7, 2010

In My Day...

There’s an old group of sayings, usually coined by our parents or other baby boomers about what it was like “in their day.” “In my day, we didn’t have 300 hundred channels. We had three.” We’ve all heard it at one time or another. And if Al Gore needed any ego stroking he could just saddle up next to a senior citizen and ask them about snow. “In my day, we had snow three feet deep and had no school for a week.”

Now, it comes to pass that my generation as adults and parents can start spinning their own nostalgic yarns about how we could build snowman five feet high that would last for weeks. And it’s true, at least for us here in Pennsyltuckey, we haven’t had a lot of snowfall since we were in high school. In fact, my senior year occurred during the all too well known and oft quoted, “Blizzard of 93.” I can count on both almost two hands how many times we were called off during my three years of high school. Since my district covered an extensive area that included, what we considered, “the mountains” we had a lot of times where it wasn’t that bad at my house yet school was cancelled anyway.

I remember once was during my Sophomore year when we had a cancellation I was really peeved because I was going to be out of class all day to help with the stage crew for a multi school choir concert. To brag to your friends that you got of class all day just to have them cancel everything for the day but the reason you were out of class was a bit of a downer.

From then it was a whole decade before I saw a record snowfall. That was in February of 2003 and I actually walked up the main street of my town and didn’t see a car. But that was it for almost seven years. During that time we barely saw enough snow to make a snow midget. If we did get a good snow it was in April and was only around for a week before it melted.

So, here we are kicking off 2010 with record snowfalls around the country. Temperatures, overall, are low in even the Southern regions. What really gets me is how much of a surprise this is to anyone. I mean should we be shocked that it’s January and snowing? Well, for the past few years we’ve been rather spoiled. I’ve been able to get by without using the snow blower, which doesn’t work, in my driveway. Now, I can’t keep up with the shoveling. But, still, this is after all, winter. It should be snowing. Yet, people are out there driving like they are from South Carolina. I swear I need to leave five minutes earlier in the morning to get to work, not because of road conditions but because people are so ridiculously ill equipped to drive in this weather. There’s cautious and then there is idiotic.

We usually see oddball weather, or more accurately, appropriate weather roughly every seven to ten years around here and how quickly people forget what it was like when it happened last. It makes me laugh because we are society of memory driven denizens that recall a simpler time without cutting edge innovations like smart phones and the Internet and yet for all our waxing nostalgic about walking to school, uphill, both ways through three feet of snow we panic and complain when it happens again.

Here’s a rule of thumb for all you people unsure of what to do in bad weather. If you turn on the news and you see a story about a salt truck that plunged over a 100 foot cliff because of road conditions, maybe you should stay home. Or at least leave extra, extra early so that you are out of my way by the time I get there. Another favorite picture of mine is the news stories of people with their cars stuck in the snow. Usually, you get a low shot of one of the tires as the reporter says the following. “When he left for work today, this is what happened.” Next thing you see is the person spinning their wheels in the show. Last time I checked, rule one for getting unstuck in the snow is to NOT jam on the gas pedal spinning your wheels at high RPMs.

The one thing I haven’t seen a lot of anymore is the mad dash for bread and milk at the store with just the slightest threat of snowfall. Usually as soon as the weatherman flips his coin and chooses snow as the prediction it’s like Black Friday out there with Cabbage Patch Dolls.

So, as we brace for more snow, and it will happen again this winter, just letting you know, realize that a level head is the one thing we all need to keep in our bag of tricks when we go out, or as we called it in my day, common sense.

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