Winter's Beautiful, If You're Not In It

COMMENT

March 28, 1993|By KEVIN THOMAS

Remember the 1971 song, "Here Comes the Sun," written by George Harrison? Wouldn't you like to sing that now?

Actually, the signs are pretty good that spring is really here and we can all begin to shed those coats and that nasty funk we've been in.

Of course, there is the obvious fact that spring officially began March 20. And the weather seems to be improving.

But I'm not so trusting anymore. This could be just one more of lTC Old Man Winter's tricks. He's been particularly brutal and cunning this year.

After weeks and months of gray skies, cold snaps and freezing rains, winter delivered its harshest blow in the form of a blizzard this month. Not just any blizzard, but the worst storm this century, as forecasters constantly reminded us.

Throw in a few Howard earthquakes, and that guy in Waco, Texas, and Armageddon doesn't seem so silly anymore, does it?

Maybe there were some folks who met the blizzard with a jolly "Hi ho, isn't this wonderful?" I, however, retired to the couch in our family room for an extended catatonic rest.

Personally, this was a winter that could have ended much earlier to suit me. I understand now why some people have to sit under those bright fluorescent lamps during the winter to maintain their sanity.

Try as I might to block the blizzard of 1993 out of mind, I was -- through my haze of semi-consciousness -- able to make out some of the things going on around me.

I did not have to be fully awake.

Winter in Howard County, or just about anywhere for that matter, involves a standard set of rituals, even for those of us drawn to hibernation as the only rational way of dealing with cold weather.

One thing is certain about our species though. Kids like snow a heck of a lot more than adults.

Now I know you think I'm going to complain about shoveling. And while that might have been true at one time, I long ago contracted with a neighbor's teen-aged son to eliminate that chore from my repertoire. If you could move the couch outside and shovel from there, it might work for me.

Also, I don't believe in shoveling snow from cars. My wife and I park in a garage. This is not a status symbol for us. This is survival.

The children, on the other hand, live in a different reality than I do. They actually like all that white stuff.

My 8-year-old daughter, whom we have renamed Nanook of the North, lives for snow. The moment a snowflake lights on the ground, she's ripped out the snow pants and the boots and is headed up the back hill with her sled. Eight hours later she may check in with us just to see if we haven't moved. But then it's back to the slopes.

My son, on the other hand, has a different attitude about the snow. His philosophy is basically, "I've seen it before. It's nice for awhile. But can you throw another log on the fire?" I smile from the couch, knowing full well what block this chip was chiseled from.

And speaking of fires, there are some other standard practices that accompany snow.

Do you always set up an area near the back door where the kids can come in and take off their wet boots and jackets? And don't the kids always come in the front door anyway?

And no matter how many times you put gloves and a hat on your children, do they ever come back with them?

Can you imagine how many knit beanies lay frozen on the ground after a good snow storm?

Do your kids ever leave their sleds somewhere instead of bringing them home? Mine do. But why I should imagine their sleds would be treated any differently than their bikes and roller skates is probably just another result of the delirium I find myself in at these times.

Finally, for all the talk about people hoarding food from the supermarkets at the first hint of bad weather, I think a good investigative piece should be done on what happens at the video stores.

If anyone, just before a snow storm, can find a movie at Blockbuster that is of a higher caliber than a travel video, than they got there days before I.

Don't get me wrong. A first snowfall can be beautiful.

But it's best enjoyed while bundled up on the couch in front of the fireplace. Then, you can watch it out the back window.

Or, better still, have it framed and mounted on the wall.

Kevin Thomas is The Baltimore Sun's editorial writer in Howard County.

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