Friday, December 29, 2017

Snow at Christmas

As this is a pre-written (embargoed) post, I have no way of knowing if we had snow or not. More years, more often than not, where my parents live now, we don't. It might be cold, but either it's cold and too dry for snow, or else it's just above the threshold of freezing, and rain comes instead.

(Rain and 40 degrees F is, in my mind, far more miserable than snow and, say , 25 degrees F. Especially if the rain comes with wind and the snow is just falling nicely through calm air).

I remember from childhood that more often than not, there was snow at Christmas - enough that the one or two "green" (really: brown, given the state of the lawn) Christmases were a considerable disappointment. Part of that is I grew up in the 1970s, a historically cooler decade (and yes, there were people back then predicting a new Ice Age, something that has largely been forgotten). And also, I grew up in the shadow of Lake Erie - not QUITE in the heavy snowbelt that ended around Ashtabula, but still within the outer belts. Most years there was a few inches of snow; one or two years there were FEET.

Snow is more fun when you're a kid and don't have to drive in it. And when you don't have to go to work and contend with slush and either ruining your good shoes, wearing ugly floppy galoshes over them, or wearing some kind of snow boots and carrying your shoes (along with your briefcase, lunch, possibly a thermos of coffee, and whatever other impedimentia your job required). I don't remember for sure what my dad did - I think he went the galoshes route - but it must have been a pain. (When I was a grad student, when we did have snow, I guess I just wore old shoes and didn't worry too much. And anyway, my university was pretty good at snow removal so the sidewalks were usually clear).

But I do admit I like a *little* snow at Christmas - maybe just some pretty flakes on Christmas Eve day, and no accumulation until after people are safely home from services that night....but then maybe a couple inches on Christmas day, enough so kids who got sleds or other snow toys can go out and enjoy them, and so it looks pretty (at least for a while, snow covers up a lot of the late-fall ugliness in the world - a couple inches and it doesn't matter you never got around to raking up the leaves).

It does make it harder for people with mobility challenges, and I'm all too cognizant of that now. Better to have it for one day, when you don't have to leave the house, and gone the next. (Where I live, if we get more than a dusting of snow, everything shuts down until it goes away and I generally don't have to leave the house.)

Failing snow at Christmas, I'd rather it be clear and cold (and dry) than rainy. And I'd rather have it be a little rainy than "hot" and sunny. (I have had people tell me there have been a few years in recent years, down where I live, where it was close to 80 on Christmas. That feels wrong, for a Northern Hemisphere person. They loved it; they said they chose to do the turkey as smoked turkey using the grill. But I would feel discombobulated if it weren't at least cold.)

I dunno, though. Sometimes I do wish I could go back to childhood for just a few hours, and have the excitement of snow at Christmas - snowmen, and snow angels, and snowballs - without having to worry about "how will I get to work" or "I have to shovel the sidewalk."

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