No, I did not watch the Big Snow on a Florida television set. Instead, I saw the white flakes float to the ground and pile up in incredible drifts first-hand here in Toledo. You can't really appreciate a good snowstorm if you're not right in the middle of it, so if timing is everything, I hit the mark last Sunday and Monday and am no doubt happier about it than are the first robins.
Although thousands of area residents escape to warmer climes and stay until tulips peek through the ground in the spring, there are some positives to consider about being in snow country.
Perhaps it's a feeling of survival when you finally uncover the car and plow through the deep snow to reach a manageable roadway. Or is it just that we grew up in a region where Mother Nature can be depended on to drop some of the cold white stuff during the winter months, and feeling the cold wind and snow on our faces feels good, though we don't admit it?
Operating an automobile during, or after, a snowstorm is an accomplishment. Driving on snow-packed side roads is lonely and quiet. At 9 a.m. last Sunday, when I hit I-475 driving one of the few cars on the highway, it was more of a relief not to be in heavy traffic than it was scary. Of course there were plenty of semis to keep an eye on.
It's logical, but will it ever be possible that someday in our nation of truck transportation, there will be highways just for them? On the other hand, I sometimes feel sorry for the truck driver who must figure out what mere motorists have on their minds. I have a bad habit of slowing down without giving a warning, and more than once have looked in the rear-view mirror to see a huge truck that followed my lead. Thankfully.
The Big Snow of Saturday night and Sunday morning, and Monday's follow-up painted a beautiful landscape that stayed all week on trees, bushes, and the ground instead of turning to muddy slush, as we know all too well light snows can do. It was definitely the perfect time for artists to capture the real thing on canvas.
The minute the snow was swept off the car with a broom I knew it was the heavy kind that children long for. They can roll it into giant balls to build a snowman to dress up. Haven't we all made a snowman, and as the ball is rolled gathering up more and more snow, it leaves a path and uncovers the green grass waiting for spring?
Seniors are certain that all winter storms in their growing up years were big ones, and they enjoy spinning tales about them. Last weekend you often could hear seniors say this is the kind of snowstorm they always had when they were children.
It is also common for today's grandparents to remind the children that they never had snow days in school. Every day was a school day, snow or not. Furthermore, they walked to school, no matter how deep the snow was. They arrived at school with ruddy cheeks and wet clothes that were peeled off and hoped they would be sort of dry at the end of the school day. Dry or wet, the clothes were put on for the return walk home.
My two-mile walk to school was often interrupted by snowball fights and romps in deep banks of snow, while I kept my lunch bag high and dry.
Snow fun included making angels in the snow, but I remember as well going through the winter with sore, chapped legs, and a painful mark left by heavy, unlined wool snow pants that was forgotten with a cup of steaming hot chocolate and a floating marshmallow at the kitchen table.
So here's to Big Snows. Think of it this way: The folks down in Florida can't break off an icicle or help their grandchildren build a snowman, and I'll wager a cup of hot chocolate that they miss it, if only for a few minutes.
Mary Alice Powell is a retired Blade food editor.
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