Lee Pitts: Don’t Let it Snow
I hate snow. I know, I know, every ten inches of snow supposedly equals one inch of rain and we all need rain, but a blizzard seems to me to be an awfully inefficient and dangerous way to get your moisture.
Such is my hatred for snow that I’d go so far to say that I’m a chionophobiac. That means I live in fear of the white stuff. To me there is no such thing as “beautiful snow”. The holidays are the worst because at any minute I could walk into a store and the Muzak will be playing that irritating Christmas classic, “Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.” It’s gotten to the point that I hate every month with an “R” in it, which means I don’t get any relief until May.
I’ve got a lot of respect for those of you who live in northern climes where it snows, you with the icicles hanging from your nose hairs. I don’t know how you do it. Please understand, I’m a southern California kid, born and bred and the only time I saw snow as a child was when me and my buddies went to YMCA snow camp every winter. One year, three weeks before the camp I suffered a compound fracture of my leg playing an unsafe, unsupervised rugby-like game at the Y. The YMCA leaders were so grateful that my family didn’t sue them they insisted that I go to snow camp while on crutches, all expenses paid. The minute we got there a blizzard set in for three days and the Y leaders had to carry me out 12 miles on a toboggan. By the time we got to dry pavement I’m sure they’d have wished we’d have just sued them for ten million.
I think you have to be born in the snow and grow up with it to be able to drive in it and I freely admit that I’m no snowman. This was a big problem because my job description required that I drive 50,000 miles per year and much of that during the winter in the northlands. But the minute I see a snowflake I lose my ability to drive. Making matters worse, I never took my 4 wheel drive pickup nor did I have studded tires which meant I had to chain up a lot. My personal record was the winter I had to chain up 28 times and three times were on the same day!
My wife and I did spend one year in New Mexico but had to move back to California because I didn’t have the clothes for the Land of Enchantment. I added up what a Carhartt jacket, cap with ear muffs, long underwear, woolen socks and Sorrell boots would have cost and figured I could live in an ocean front house back home where it never snows and the term “winterize” merely entails rolling up your car windows. Oh sure, we have deadly fog where you can’t see two feet in front of you but at least you never see what kills you and your teeth aren’t chattering and knees knocking because it’s 20 degree below zero!
One problem with living in California is if you want to escape the state to the north you either have to drive over Donner Pass where you can get trapped like we were for three days in a Shell gas station with 20 other folks. (It’s a good thing the road reopened because we were starting to size people up to see who we ate first.) Or you can head due north into Oregon via Mount Shasta which holds the record for the single greatest snowstorm in history: 189 inches!
I think I was there that day.
Our worst trip was actually in Oklahoma’s panhandle where we got stuck in a blizzard on the way to a bull sale in Guymon and my wife had to open her passenger side door, look at the edge of the asphalt and tell me which way to steer the car. Later I was informed by a grizzled survivor of 89 ruthless winters that I should have just swerved into a snowbank and stayed in the car because that makes it a lot easier to identify the bodies after all the snow melts.
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