Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it ... Oh for crying out loud make it STOP!

Why is it that whenever there is a good-sized snowstorm, people rush out to the grocery store and buy white food?

Milk. Eggs. Flour. Bread. Sugar. White food. Is it some kind of sympathetic magic - white in the air, white in the grocery cart? Do they plan to spend the time they are snowed in making french toast?

Of course, what constitutes a "good-sized snowstorm" varies from place to place. When I was a kid in Philadelphia, three inches was always the line where we could hope for a snow day. In parts of the south, the mere appearance of flakes is enough to start people babbling in tongues, not that they need much excuse to do that in parts of the south. Here in Wisconsin, we might not even bother shoveling until it gets to about four inches, and "good-sized" seems to start at around eight or ten.

The girls and I have even codified this into a game. "Do the 'snow in Philadelphia' thing again, Dad!" they will chant, and so I do:

"Three inches of snow in Philadelphia!?!?! Oh my! Time to panic! Close the schools! Shut the highways! Call out the Army! Run to the grocery and buy white food!"

"Three inches of snow here? Huh, better get out my broom - not worth shoveling today."

They can listen to that for hours. Why, I don't know, since I'll be the first to admit it isn't all that funny, even with the high-pitched frantic sobby voice that goes with the first part. Perhaps especially with that voice. But they like the repetition, I guess. I know I've certainly gotten tired of the "three-legged chicken" joke that I told one evening over a bucket of KFC. Every time we have chicken, out it comes again.

It's snowing right now, our second three to five inch snowstorm in three days, with more to come in the next week. Apparently we're picking up right where we left off last winter, when it snowed almost every other day from Thanksgiving to Easter - over 100 inches in our little town, breaking the old record by almost 50%. Except one weekend when it rained for two straight days, and since we already had three feet or so of snow built up and lying on the ground, the rainwater had nowhere to go - so it just accumulated until it froze solid when the temperatures returned to normal. That was a fun time, let me tell you.

Like everyone else in this state, we have a snowblower. They're standard equipment in Wisconsin, along with bratwursts, "really cold weather" coats that you can't wear if the temperature is above 10 degrees F, and household appliances in Packers colors. I drag it out and fire it up dutifully, clearing my way out of the drive way so the plow can block me back in. It's a game we play. I'm not sure what we'd do without that little machine, since shoveling our driveway is an all-day project that my back is not really up for anymore. I suppose we would just have to be stuck in our nice warm house, making french toast, while the good people of the world slog off through the cold and snow to work.


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