This Isn’t Florida

It is the day after Christmas. I am walking to my car with a snow shovel in my bare and unbelievably cold hands. No heavy lifting, just a snow plow like pushing of the shovel does it. Last night’s “lake-effect” snow dropped a light, two inch lawyer of snow over the area just north of Pittsburgh. While temperatures dropped to the low teens during the night, it is now probably in the high teens with a light north-westerly breeze.

All in all not as bad as it could be, but not exactly what the weather man predicted. So far, in the past few days, predictions haven’t matched the reality. That’s partly due to the aforementioned lake effect, the cold winds blowing across the warmer water of Lake Erie 150 miles to the north. That and the hilly terrain, numerous rivers, mountain effect from the Allegheny mountains an hours drive east, make accurate sectional predictions difficult.

So much for defense of the weathermen/women. In the meanwhile, my son and I are clearing the snow from the sidewalks and driveway. I make sure he does most of the work. I’m fortunate that Bob and his family live on a fairly level piece of ground in the midst of rolling terrain. The job doesn’t take long and clearing off the car requires a minimal sweeping off and almost no need of real scraping. I’m not even puffing as I did the day before after a brisk mile-long hike seemingly mostly uphill. That the car also works is also encouraging.

The roads are also cleared nicely which is our reward for having been wakened twice in the early morning by the scrapping noise of the snow plow on the road. It’s a welcome, if annoying, noise for snow battered northerners. It means we’ll be mobile at least most of the day. Not that it snows all the time. Pittsburgh is a relatively moderate climate. In fact, temperatures may go up into the mid-40s by the end of the week. However, I do recall winters on the late 70s and early 80s when temperatures ranged from minus 15 to 30 degrees for an entire month. The Ohio River froze over.

For now this is a warmer spell however unbalanced it seems against our now used-to central Florida temperatures. Our thermostats don’t adjust fast enough. However, by the time this is read (hopefully), we’ll be back in those Florida temperatures which we hope will be unseasonably warm. That means we have another several days wearing heavy jackets, and nice wooly hats. It’s a nice change and a fun challenge (my wife doesn’t agree) if viewed from the perspective that it is limited. It does make us realize why we chose to move south.

On the other hand, because we are gathering with a large portion of our children and grandchildren, and great-grandchild coming together in Pennsylvania from Florida, Tennessee, North Carolina and Maryland, place and weather are relatively unimportant. Cold hands, noses, feet, and petty inconveniences are inconsequential in the context of and contrast with joining with family in a joyous holiday season.

May your New Year and Christmas holidays be equally merry and rewarding.

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