January 9, 2013

Publisher's Notebook: Snow isn’t fun anymore

By Willie Sawyers

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Many of my friends on Facebook are clamoring for snow. They’ve been missing it the last few years and are anxiously scanning the forecast to see when the white stuff may pile up outside their doors and windows.

But not me. If I want to see snow, I will look at it in a picture.

Snow has lost its allure to me. A nice, big snow would be nice around Christmas, but after that, give me the record highs we’re expecting for this weekend. Wearing shorts on the golf course in January — now that’s an allure.

I’m sure getting older has something to do with it. My aversion to cold weather has been well documented in this space. But when I think about it, snow just isn’t fun anymore.

I used to love a knee-deep snow and all the joys that came with it. I’d load up the kids and we’d go tubing down the steep slopes of the London Country Club.

There was nothing more fun than running as fast as I could, latching on to a big old truck inner tube, hurtling down a steep, snow-covered hill, launching myself into the air from a custom-built snow ramp and crashing into a heap at the bottom of the hill, laughing hysterically.

Now when I think about such a stunt, my lower back starts to hurt. I haven’t seen a truck inner tube in years and would have no idea where to find one. Also, I don’t think I could walk back up the hill more than twice. So, forget that.

Years ago when my testosterone level and foolish quotient were higher, I used to love challenging a big snow in my four-wheel drive vehicle. I would pride myself on going where I needed to go, and some places I didn’t, no matter the snow or ice conditions. My employees were never snowbound because I’d go pick them up.

I remember leaving in the middle of the night during one blizzard in February 1998 and heading to Danville to get the paper printed. I was in four-wheel drive all the way, dodging snow drifts and stuck vehicles. It took about four hours to make the one-hour trip, but I made the pressrun on time. I was fearless.

Now, I’m afraid I can’t get off my hill. The four-wheel drive in my Explorer no longer functions. I’ve thought about getting it fixed. But why should I, since it never snows anymore.

So, all my friends who want it to snow can volunteer to come pick me up and take me to work at the first sign of snow or ice.

I used to love a snow that was so deep everything had to shut down for days. People would huddle in their homes, eat pots of stew and soup beans and get reacquainted again.

Now, a forecast of a deep snow would make weatherman Bill Meck start salivating on the TV screen. It would take four hours to make a trip, but that would be to the grocery store, where people would be trampled in the bread aisle. Sales of the trashy magazines at the checkout counter would soar while people stood in line forever. Parents would fight their kids for the iPad. Forget that.

I used to love walking outside while a heavy snow blanketed the area. It was so beautiful and serene. But since it hasn’t snowed in years, my snow gear is woefully inadequate.

I don’t own a toboggan, a decent pair of gloves or even a pair of boots that don’t leak. During the last decent snow, my boots leaked and my socks were wet all the way up to my ankles. Forget that.

Yes, people may yearn to see a lot of snow again. But for me, I don’t mind it being a fond memory.