By Kelly Terpstra, firstname.lastname@example.org
I am by no means a Scrooge when it comes to winter weather.
I don’t dislike the season — even after listening to Christmas music being played two months straight everywhere you go on a non-stop loop.
But there are limits to the madness.
When is enough, enough?
If I see one more snowfl—.
Ah, never mind.
I’ve had it. You’ve had it. We’ve all had it.
“I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!”
Me, as I grab my ice scraper and began the arduous process of cleaning the snow off my vehicle this winter for what seems like the 20th time.
Well, I’m not actually (h-e-double hockey sticks) mad, but a line from the movie “Network” seemed appropriate for the fifth sentence of this column.
If you haven’t seen the 1976 movie, it won four Academy awards. There’s no connection to the classic flick and inclement weather, but it seemed to sum up the frustration of many regarding one too many winter storms that has turned us bitter against the coldest period of the year.
Winter is not for the faint of heart here in Iowa. Or Minnesota. Or Wisconsin. Or any other Midwestern state that has been blasted by the white stuff over and over again in January and February.
Yes, Missouri and Illinois, I’ll include you in that unenvious group as well. Nebraska and Kansas? Well, I’m not currently on speaking terms with those states for reasons I won’t get into, other than sports teams are involved and it’s complicated.
South Dakota and North Dakota, heck you’re no picnic in the park either when it comes to trying to enjoy “a long and lustrous winter,” as weatherman Phil Connors so eloquently spoke into the TV screen in the 1993 movie, “Groundhog Day.”
Phil, played by the legendary and iconic Bill Murray, also had this to say about Old Man Winter.
“It’s gonna be cold, it’s gonna be grey, and it’s gonna last you for the rest of your life.”
Yeah, it’s been that kind of a year, folks.
It’s been a record-breaker, for sure.
How much more snow can fall from the sky this winter?
Ten inches? 15 inches? Dare I say 20?
My ardent and intensive research has tallied 34.5 inches of snow that packed our city streets and sidewalks since October. That info is courtesy of the National Weather Service.
Hey, I have no problem with the occasional snow storm once in awhile, but this has turned into some sort of sick joke that Mother Nature is trying to pull on us at this juncture.
Do Mother Nature and Old Man Winter get along? I want to know more about this relationship if one does exist. They also seem to not be on speaking terms at the moment.
While we’re at it, what’s that furry little critter’s name over in Pennsylvania?
Punxsutawney Phil, I believe. He saw his shadow on Groundhog Day a few weeks ago. That meant an early spring.
I give him about another couple of weeks before I’m calling that wanna-be gopher a liar.
Since we all could be in the stretch run here in the Midwest when it comes to the completion of winter, I have devised a list to help you cope should you have the winter blues. Do with it what you may and at your leisure. These aren’t orders or directives, per se, but more along the lines of some food for thought.
Just remember, spring should be here soon. Soon is the operative word because that could be anywhere from four weeks to another two months at this rate.
Here’s my Top 10 List of “Things to Consider While Riding Out the Winter Storm.”
- Always err on the side of positivity when dealing with repeated snowfalls. There’s a silver lining in everything. Find it. Mine has been that shoveling snow provides the human body with plenty of exercise to burn off calories. So, yeah, it’s good for your overall health.
- Snow is pretty and no one snowflake is like the other. It’s unique. There’s a metaphor for life in there somewhere but I think it’s buried in the three feet of snow that is piling up outside my driveway.
- Snow is fun to play in e.g., sledding, ice skating, snowball fights, building a snowman or creating a snow angel.
- Snow days. No one likes to go to school into the third week of June, but snow days are days off for students. Think of them as mini-vacations and remember, spring break is just around the bend as well.
- Remember, like almost anything, the storm shall pass. Birds will start chirping, spring smells will awaken the senses and we can start to think about wearing shorts again.
- For those people who do wear shorts year round, kudos. I saw one again the other day. Impressive. That’s all I am going to say on that front.
- Those documentaries you have put off watching on Netflix are helping pass the time. Fifty years ago, people didn’t have the ability to basically watch whatever you wanted when you were essentially trapped in your house. Having to walk up to the television set without a remote to change one of four channels can tend to get boring and tedious.
- Meals always seem to taste better in the winter for some reason. There’s nothing like a grilled cheese sandwich made to perfection and paired with tomato soup to help warm your inner spirit. I feel like my chili recipe may need some adjustment or alteration if there’s going to be more yucky weather still lurking out there somewhere. Variety is the spice of life, right? The same old recipe just won’t do after simmering on my stovetop for repeated taste tests at least twice already this year.
- Read. No, not the latest gossip on Facebook. Try opening a book or read a story or novel online. You’ll be better because of it. If you don’t have a book on hand, go the library and check some out. If you can’t drive in the snow, watch the forecast, plan in advance and get the books before the blizzard shuts everything down.
- Talk. Communicate with another human being – but not on social media or on the phone. There’s these interesting things that humans can do and that’s convey words back and forth to each other – face to face. These are the conversations I tend to remember 10 years from now. They also can end up the most productive and worthwhile. Not saying you can’t hold great convos via a number of different mediums or methods, but that personal touch or intimate bond created through a private or public conversation in person seems to happen less and less. It’s gone the way of the door-to-door salesmen — almost extinct. I miss those moments.
And much like “Groundhog Day,” this winter has been a movie we’ve seen before and it keeps playing over and over again. It may just never stop — this cold, cruel winter we’re having.
I don’t think Mother Nature has deliberately put Jack Frost on repeat, dishing out snowstorm after snowstorm. I believe that Mr. Frost has just been stuck in a snowdrift somewhere and needs to be saved. He can’t lash out like this forever and make this a perpetual winter that never ends.
Either way, us Iowans are tough and we’ll make it through this rough stretch.
We always seem to do.
So the Winter of 2019 isn’t over yet. I don’t know what to call it because the final chapter is yet to be written.
One last thing — what do we call spring?