Stick Figure Family

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Friday, January 9, 2009


We've been inundated with snow the past 3 weeks. It's unusual for our town whose name translates from Native American to "green grassy place" - the wintering grounds for those early inhabitants.

We get snow here maybe once a year. Even if it's just a handful of flakes. Sometimes it's even white for Christmas. And it gets cold in January and February, but nothing like when we lived in Colorado or Utah. In the nine years we lived in Colorado, we usually had snow in September and occasionally on into May and once June. When we moved up here, our boy prayed for snow all winter. He was mostly disappointed. No snowmen. No snow forts... Finally, on his February birthday, 1993, it snowed. And snowed. And snowed. We got over two feet of snow that time. Our 4-year-old was so thrilled that God had answered his prayers!

But, the catch was... all that snow belonged to him... the four-year-old. He was outraged that people were out "using" the snow in their own front yards. Certainly it was all his and it had arrived exclusively for his own use!

Moving to the Pacific Northwest from the Rockies had its other quirks. They don't have snow plows in great abundance like they did in Boulder. I think that for years there was only one for the entire area. And, they have "two-hour delays" and "snow days" at school whenever a few flakes fall. On one occasion, it actually snowed about 1/2", but the green grass was still showing through. I drove our kindergartner to school only to discover the parking lot was empty. We turned around and went home. We called the neighbors. Ah.... the infamous school closure. We were supposed to have been listening to the radio that morning to find out about such things. Granted, the roads had been slick, but still... we had quite a few laughs over that.

Speaking of Colorado. We lived there on a corner lot with lots of sidewalk to shovel. The prevailing thought was that the walks all had to be cleared within a certain number of hours after a snowfall or you, as homeowner, would be liable for any injuries received in front of your home. We were as diligent as could be and always got out early to shovel the entire corner. And just like clockwork, the snow plows would come around afterwards and use our cleared walk as a guide to plow our street - and pile all the snow high over our once-cleared walks. Every time. We could never outsmart them.

At least we were able to get out - after tunneling through the snow wall they would leave behind. Because we lived on a "major" thoroughfare and it would get cleared. The back streets weren't as lucky. But, in one little town north of us, the residents all contributed their time and plowed the neighborhoods after each snowfall. That way the residential areas all got plowed. What community spirit!

On the other hand, in Denver one year when Frederico Pena was mayor, there was a huge dumping of snow. It paralyzed the entire metro area for days. The mayor had a brilliant solution: have the trash trucks roll up and down the streets to pack the snow down. Everyone thought he was nuts. But, wouldn't you know, when Clinton was elected president, he appointed this guy Secretary of Transportation. I've often wondered what other "innovative" ideas he shared with that Democratic cabinet.

And with that, I'm just going to sleep in.. because the schools are running on a two-hour delay for the 5th day in a row. Go snow!

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