Wintry claims to pretty names

Storm: The community's proclivity for colorfully designating its highways and byways gives them some added personality in whiteout conditions.

January 26, 2000|By Del Quentin Wilber | Del Quentin Wilber,SUN STAFF

There was no escaping the snowstorm yesterday -- even on Summer Day Lane.

But at least the street name gave Eileen Zuckman, 59, a pleasant thought while shoveling enough snow so her dog -- "he's a very short dog" -- could relieve himself. "That's what you do on Summer Day Lane during the middle of a blizzard," Zuckman said.

Across Columbia, residents couldn't escape the snow, despite the colorful and sometimes rosy street names. From Summer Day Lane to Snowman Court, people shoveled driveways, reshoveled driveways, read books and watched television. Some planned treks into the swirling white abyss to build a snowman or two.

But not Jennifer Smith. She moved to Summer Blossom Lane about 18 months ago after growing up in Los Angeles. She said she finds it hard to deal with snow, even after moving into her two-story Summer Blossom house.

"It's ironic, I know," said Smith, 30, and nearly eight months' pregnant.

Like many Columbia residents, Smith appreciates the name of her street. "It makes people smile, lights up their faces," she says.

A publicist for a national news magazine, she worked from home yesterday, as many people did. "Well, I'm working with a little more leisure," she said. "I'm working underneath a blanket on the couch."

On Summer Day Lane, Richard Carey, 62, shoveled his driveway and took two dogs for a walk. He's lived here for 30 years and doesn't really think much about the street name. "The irony is not particularly gripping," he said. "It was kind of nice in the early years."

Residents living on streets like Snowflake and Snowman courts were in the same spirits.

Ray Gomez, 30, lives on Snowflake Court and was about to go to his job as a cook at a Columbia hotel. But his neighborhood parking lot had not been plowed. "It's really bad right now," said Gomez, who spent the morning watching television.

Gomez isn't a fan of snow, but he appreciates his street's name. "When the snow is coming down," he said, "then you see the sign."

Down the street, Steven Rubin was watching a movie on cable television with his young son and wife.

Rubin got up early, planning on going to work as a project coordinator with the Department of Agriculture. But the snow was thick, and the federal government shut down. Instead, he picked up coffee at a local shop and returned home.

Rubin has seen plenty of street names, mostly route numbers, in his travels across rural America for the Department of Agriculture. But he said Columbia is unique.

"The names are fancy around here," he said. "A lot of people make fun of the name" Snowflake Court.

Although no snowmen had appeared on Snowman Court yesterday, residents say they are expert snowman-makers, and have often created snowmen to help foster neighborhood unity.

"You always have snowmen on Snowman Court," said Cheryl Carrigg, 50, who has lived there for 23 years.

Carrigg spent her day quilting. Her children have moved away, but she remembers the cold mornings and afternoons spent rolling large balls of snow. "We all did it," she says. "It's where we live, on Snowman Court."

Her neighbor, Lynne D'Autrechy, spent the afternoon resting after caring for her 1-year-old son, Ryan. Her son, Kyle, 6, and husband were out sledding. D'Autrechy was quite sure there would be a snowman in her yard's immediate future -- depending on the quality of the snow. "Sometimes, it's too dry," she said.

Usually, the family dresses its snowman in a scarf and uses acorns and other nuts to make teeth, eyes and buttons. Sometimes, the builders put a hat on the snowman.

But after last week's snowstorm, Kyle didn't want to build a snowman.

"We built a snow fort instead," she said.

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