Sunday, December 27, 2009

Frosty Landscapes

Although those in the south, deserts and west would disagree, the recent snow in Kansas City was not a cataclysmic event. Some here think so, regarding this snow as a major event in their lives. Thus I note that we are becoming a less hardy lot, not just us aging ones, but all of us. I hear people screaming "ooooh, it is still too bad for me to get out", "you went out in this???" and canceling events left and right. I remember the Illinois blizzard of 1967 and some later snows so deep that our neighbor's yellow car was just a spot in the sea of white. I was at the University of Illinois the year (probably 1976) when it snowed so much they closed the school for the first time in 30 some years. The 30in of snow overnight in Philadelphia, which was one of the few times I did not get out, lingers in my memory as something a bit out of the ordinary. As a kid, we never had school canceled and I always seemed to make it there.

The first "snow emergency" I witnessed in Jefferson City, Mo was a joke. Three inches... "what snow??", I mused.

Sure we got some snow over Christmas, and it was a lot for this area. The biggest problem was the incompetent and totally useless (get the point??) city government which could not handle a dripping sink let alone a snow event. My street has yet to see a plow, and in my ventures out, I have only seen one on the streets. But that is a story in itself.

A couple of years ago while still driving the Queen Mary, who was not at all a happy snowmobile, I was asked how I got up a snow covered hill without getting stuck. "Well", I sort of snottily replied, "I know what the numbers 1, 2 and 3 mean on my automatic transmission selector, and I also know when and how to use them." They had not a clue what I meant. Put the gear in second or 1st, let the torque pull you up, lower gears reduce wheel spin and so you have a good chance, with decent tires and 100lbs of snow melt in the back, of getting up the hill. Dunbar's front wheel drive has proved even more effective.

I guess it is all about your experience, training and outlook about things. If you are prepared for it, snow is a nuisance not a disaster. To me snow covers the ordinarily gray and ratty city with a blanket of sparkle and glow. The quiet of the snow in the early AM is magical, the drifts creating an undulating landscape where there is usually just a flat, weedy lot. It freshens and cleans the world, and makes us more hardy and tough.

And those bitching about it, stay inside or go to your beloved Florida or wherever and leave this wonderland to me.

1 comment:

zaine_ridling said...

Man, I completely agree. I LOVE THE SNOW! Everything gets quieter and slower for a time. Here in Rolla, we missed the brunt of it, though Renee said it rained six inches in one day down in Arkansas last week (and over 100 inches this year).

My own personal problem with snow is if I have to get out, my cheap old truck isn't built for cold. The door handle button is plastic, the windshield wipers are thin, and the small cab takes half an hour to heat up while driving. Maybe if I had one of these new oceanliner trucks, but then the taxes would kill me. Oh, and the payments wouldn't be made either, so I guess that fantasy just vanished.

What I do wish is that old people, viz., grandma, would get the hell of the icy/snowy road! She already drives 18mph around town, topping out at 22 on the long straightaways, but in snow, she also drives in the middle of the road. Apparently she missed the great "Nursing Home Die-Off of 2009" and is out to kill herself by taking the rest of us with her!

Hang in there, and hope for more snow this year.