You Can’t Call This Snowing

I’ve noticed the media is making a huge deal about the “snow” here in the east.  I’m not saying there is no snow on the east coast, but the media really blows things out of proportions.  What a shame.  It really does everyone an injustice.

It’s like when Elizabethe and I came to Buffalo in October 2006.  We had a layover at LAX.  The TV kept showing the same house with snow up to the rain gutters.  I commented to Elizabethe that each shot was of the same house, and in some cases, the same shot too.

As we flew in to Buffalo that afternoon, I was watching out the window as we approached the airport.  You couldn’t see any snow at all on the ground under the approach path except at the corners of parking lots where the snow plows had plowed it.

Did it snow that day?

Yes.

Was it really bad like the news made it sound?

No.

Were people without power as a result of the storm?

Yes.  But then, people have been without power for many other reasons too.  The fact of the matter is, the storm was early in the season and caught people off guard.  Had it been the same storm in December, January, February or March, people wouldn’t have thought twice about it.

Today’s blowing around of flakes all day long hardly constitutes a snow.  In fact, none of it even started to appear on the sidewalks until after the sun went down.  Even then, the snow was just a dusting.

Around 9:30pm as I left the Palmyra Temple, the snow was starting to stick.  But still, we are not talking anything more than a light dusting. 

All this said, if it keeps this up all night, we should have some accumulation by morning.

The Dahneke’s grandson went through the temple tonight.  It was really neat to see them there with their son and his family and his grandson.  Bart had the look of a proud grandpa.  I was really happy for him.  Brother and Sister Dahneke just shined with joy.

I ran to WalMart on my lunch break to pick up groceries for the week.  I ran in to Tom Chapman and his wife.  It seems I’m always running in to them at WalMart.  But, this is a small town and chances are, you’ll always see someone you know no matter where you go.

Speaking of small towns, I think that is what makes the quality of life better in a small town.  In a small town, kids are less likely to get in trouble because everyone knows their parents.  In a small town, people are more likely to treat each other with kindness because of the close proximity to each other.  In a small town, people are more likely to help one another because you are more likely be friends.

Zoning laws in larger communities really have destroyed the quality of life.  That is the main reason I left California.  In California, it is nearly impossible in most communities to walk to the store, doctor’s office and post office.  Zoning has these business placed far away from where you live.  This means, to do most anything, you have to take some form of transportation.    Suburbia, which was once thought to be the ideal setting for family life, has really destroyed the closeness of families and communities.

I spent the first decade of my life spending most of my time at my grandparent’s home.  They had a corner store.  It was just a small house that had been converted into a market.  My grandparents did MOST of their shopping there.  If they didn’t have it, you could let the owner know and they would get it.  It was years before I learned that my grandparents even owned a car.

When I retire, I may not even pull my car out of the garage except to drive the 2 miles to church.  For that, I might even walk to church some of the time.  The exercise you can get in a small town can be incidental to living in a small community.  I can walk to the Village Hall.  I can walk to the park.  I can walk to the barber.  I can walk to the grocery store.  I can walk to my doctor’s office.  I can walk to the post office.  I can walk to the pizza parlour.  I can walk to a couple of sit-down restaurants.  I can walk to several of my friend’s homes.  And, if push comes to shove, WalMart is close enough I could ride my bicycle to WalMart, Lowe’s, or some of the other larger businesses in neighboring villages.

 Now that it has been over a year since the last major election, and the economy continues to slide into the toilet, we can start waking up and realizing that the media is not our friend – whether it be the weather or politics – they are not our friend.  Zoning laws and other government controls are not good for us, our families and communities.   I think it is time we get back to basics.  We should get back to small businesses ran out of homes within walking distances from our front doors and elect politicians who will let us do just that.

Now, I’m going to go to sleep knowing I might have to shovel some snow in the morning.  But, as for today, you really can’t call this snowing.

Crunch, Crunch

It hasn’t snowed for a few days now, but there is still snow on the ground and a little in places on the sidewalks.  As I took my 6am walk, you could hear the icy snow crunch under my feet.  Crunch!  Crunch!  It was one of those mornings where you had to be careful how you walked so you don’t end up falling on your behind.

According to Yahoo!, the temperature at that hour was 27F.  There wasn’t any wind so it was quite a pleasant walk.  I didn’t even need to cover my ears.

Okay, here’s a good one…

As I walked pass the Citgo Gas Station, I noticed on the kerosene pump it said, “Untaxed Kerosene”.  Does that mean, it was taxed, and then they removed the tax?  Or, was the person making the sign illiterate and didn’t know it should read, “Non-taxed Kerosene”. 

It went on to say that the kerosene purchased from that pump should be used for non-taxable purposes only.  What is a taxable use of kerosene?  Am I breaking the law if I use it in my heater?  Am I breaking the law if I use to clean the grease off carburetor?  Am I breaking the law if I use it in a hurricane lantern?  What about a backpacking stove?  And, if it truly is “untaxed”, who paid the taxes on it, and who got the refund?

Oh, and welcome to the first day of winter.  Winter officially started at 12:47pm EST.  I bet you didn’t know that winter has an official start time.   “The Winter Solstice occurs exactly when the earth’s axial tilt is farthest away from the sun at its maximum of 23° 26′,” according to Wikipedia.  Winter Solstice marks the start of Winter.  It is also the day with the shortest amount of daylight.  Or, you can look at it the other way as the longest night of the year.  Take your pick.

I like it when the winter solstice passes because we start getting more daylight from this point on until we reach summer solstice.   Sunrise today was at 7:39am and sunset will be at 4:38pm here in Palmyra.  That’s 8 hours and 59 minutes of “day”.    Of course, in 6 months it will be just the opposite.  (Yeah!)

We spent the evening carolling a few people.  Our quartet went to a few people’s homes, but the most fun was at Happiness Garden.  I mean, who can resist singing Jingle Bells at a Chinese restaurant — especially if you are a fan of A Christmas Story.

Jennifer and Spencer, Texas and Marilyn, will be here very late Christmas night.  Texas is trying extra hard to be good ever since his mom, Jennifer, showed him that on Google Maps “Santa” can see their house.  (Texas had been pondering the lyrics of the song, “He sees you when you’re sleeping; he knows when you’re awake.”  He wanted to know how Santa knew such things.  His mom told him he has access to satellite. 

Texas takes after his mom.  He’s a sensitive little boy.  (So was Jennifer as a kid.)  He started to choke back the tears.  When Jennifer asked him what was wrong, he said he was trying not to cry because if Santa saw him crying, Santa wouldn’t come.  (This coming from the kid who was terrified to sit on Santa’s lap.  Aren’t kids funny.)

 So, “You better watch out;
“You better not pout.
“You better not cry,
“I’m telling you why,
“Santa Claus is coming to town.”