We have had a lot of snow lately here in southwest Virginia. This doesn’t really bother me because I just moved from the Nordic regions of Europe where the presence of snow in the winter is like the act of breathing. It is always there.
This area hasn’t had anything like this for years, though. I can tell the locals are getting tired of it. And some of the international students from warmer climates don’t know how to handle it. They don’t know how to dress for one thing, and then complain about being cold. Even if they do put on a winter jacket, they look miserable.
I have to admit even I am longing for springtime. I wasn’t cold until today, when I sat in a Starbucks next to a window. Their windows have only one pane and they usually keep the temperature low in there anyway. The constantly opening door didn’t help either. Nor did My winter jacket in such an environment.
The recent blizzards have brought to mind snowstorms of the past. The local paper listed the top blizzards of all time in the area. It seems when I was a child I lived through many of the top ten. I can recall one storm in the 1960s when, as a little boy, the snow seemed higher than a skyscraper to me.
In the early 198os I went to work in Washington,D.C. like everyone else, even though the weatherman had called for a huge blizzard. We didn’t get much work done that morning because we stood around the windows watching the storm. The federal government closed the city at 10 am and sent everyone home. It was mass chaos. I met my brother in Maryland and we drove through the slippery suburban road to the interstate, which was down to one lane. I wiped the icy snow off my windshield with my hand. Eventually, we ditched the car on a ramp we couldn’t get up and walked to his house, a few miles away. We got home at 6 pm.
One other blizzard on D.C. comes to mind because of a photo we used to have. It was a black and white shot of my oldest son as a toddler, standing there in his Finnish-issue snow gear and laughing with the snow drifts all around him. Washington is getting plastered this winter, even worse than ever. I am glad I don’t live there anymore.
In South Carolina, any kind of ice or snow closed the place down when I lived there. We had three inches once and the area was paralyzed for at least a day or two. What was worse was the ice storms. They knocked down power lines. I can recall one frozen Christmas time when we sat in the house all bundled up because we had no heat.
Even snowy Finland once had a memorable blizzard while I was there. In the early part of the just-passed decade, we once had a huge storm in Helsinki. We went out to take the bus to church. What we didn’t know was that the usually faithful Finnish snowplows weren’t out cleaning the streets. (Something to do with a reduced snow removal budget: sound familiar Virginians?) My family and other passengers had to help push the bus out of a snow trap at our stop before we could get on our way.
I don’t mind the snow. In fact, I usually like it. If I didn’t, I would have moved back to California where my brother lives. When I told him about our recent blizzards, he said, “Well, we may get some rain on Friday.” Funny guy.