Yesterday, my part of the country had its first significant snowfall in a couple of years; which, according to Eric Chilton on WFMY-TV, was 1.5 inches. I realize that’s a light dusting for some of you, but keep in mind the term “significant” is relative; in places that get don’t much snow (like the South), pretty much anything over an inch is significant. I thought it was too damn much because, unlike some of you freaks up north, I’m not a big fan of snow.
Oh, I loved it when I was a kid; sledding, snowmen and snowball fights are loads of fun. As an adult, however, that love faded. As many of you know, I was a firefighter for 23 years and firefighters don’t get to take a day off because the weather sucks or the roads are less than optimal. In fact, when conditions are bad, that’s when they’re needed most. Snowy days are always busy around the firehouse, what with wrecks, sick calls and fires. I’m sure you can understand why my ardor for a winter wonderland was somewhat dampened as a result. I really thought that would change when I retired. It didn’t. If anything, it got worse.
You wouldn’t think that’d the case, would you? Like a lot of folks, I love looking out the window when it snows, it’s beautiful. I love the silence that comes with a good snowfall; that can be a nice treat when you live in town. I’ve got a full pantry and refrigerator, so I don’t have to fight the crowds at the grocery store. And, later today, when I head down to Fuquay for a couple of days with Diana, I’ll do so in a very comfortable automobile. With all-wheel-drive, no less. Removing the having-to-be-at-work component should make a snow day an easy, relaxing time, even if it is forced on me by Nature. So, why isn’t it?
Back in the late summer, I started volunteering at Love Wins Ministries, a community of people dealing with homelessness, poverty, etc. in downtown Raleigh. I’ve made a few friends there and, for quite a few of them, a snow day isn’t a fun day. When you live outdoors, you have to deal with an environment that’s…, not exactly friendly. And, that’s on a good day. On a day like today, when the high temperature won’t get above freezing, the wind chill is in single digits and everything is wet due to the snow, it’s like that environment is actively trying to kill you. The knowledge that people I care about are stuck in this crap means it’s not really a fun day for me either.
I’m not trying to be a downer and crap all over your good time, I just want to you understand that folks like you and I are extremely lucky and don’t have to deal with the crap some people do. So, remember my friends who haven’t been as fortunate and don’t have the advantages you and I do. Because, and make no mistake about this, people will die on account of this weather. That’s bad enough on its own, please don’t make it worse by ignoring them or their reality.