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Take a five-mile, uphill-both-ways walk through snowy memory

Burt's Eye View

If the forecast proves true, you’re reading this with all the lights on because mountains of snow are blocking your windows.

Then again, you might be wearing shorts and sandals, soaking up the sun on your front porch.

Weather prognosticators were rather iffy on how much snow was coming this weekend and where it would be dumped.

That’s the trouble with weather these days — it’s too wishy-washy.

Back in my day, we got snow. Real snow. None of this two to three inches stuff, either. Our snow was at least 11 feet deep.

(It used to be 4 feet deep, but I’ve noticed that as I’ve aged, my memory has improved to 11 feet. I suspect it might climb to 15 or 16 feet in a few more years. That’s just how snow is.)

And yes, this morning we would have walked five miles to church through the white stuff. Uphill. Both ways. Well, yes, of course in bare feet. You don’t go tromping through 11 feet of snow in your Sunday shoes. You’d ruin them.

Think about that as you sit there sipping your morning coffee, your toes sunk into the warm plushness of fuzzy slippers. (Or possibly mowing your lawn; who knows about weather anymore?)

OK, I admit to a touch of softness myself. When I was a kid, we did score the occasional snow day. Growing up in the snow belt, we could count on a couple of unscheduled holidays each winter.

That’s because my Grandpa Cole no longer was a bus driver. In his day, the bus was a wagon, and sometimes a sled, and the engine was a team of draft horses. There wasn’t any such thing as a snow day. Grandpa could swing by and pick up the teachers, too.

By the time I enrolled in school, the horses were gone. We rode yellow buses, and we boys were always on standby to push in case a snowbank worked up an appetite. You didn’t want to be the last boy on the bus in the winter. A bus in a snowbank is quite a challenge for a single kid.

I’m telling you, the snow was deep back then — among other things.

So it was difficult to get too worked up last week when forecasters started panicking people with dire claims of eight to 12 inches of snow, maybe even 14 inches this weekend.

Please. When we were kids, we’d burrow tunnels and caves through the snow drifts in the backyard. You need at least a yardstick’s worth of snow for that. Two or three yardsticks are better. But a mere foot? How can you dignify that measly depth as a “snowfall”?

So while the worried hordes shoveled all the milk, bread, peanut butter and toilet paper from store shelves, I searched the garage for my golf clubs.

(I eventually remembered that I don’t play golf, and have no clubs, so I finally quit searching for them. Sometimes, my memory skips a beat or two. But I’m sure my memory of blizzards past is no whiteout.)

As a former editor of mine used to rant every time someone suggested the paper publish a weather story: “Honestly, people. It’s winter in northeast Ohio. It snows. Get over it.”

Unless you’re heading to the beach on this warm, sunny day. It’s winter in northeast Ohio. It’s just as likely to be 70 degrees today. So chill out.

— The truth is that Cole needs a new snow shovel and is too cheap to buy one. Dig him out a burtseyeview@tribtoday.com , at the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook, or @BurtonWCole on Twitter.

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