The South has experienced some very severe weather this year, and the reactions from people in other parts of the country were fairly predictable. When they read about gridlock in Atlanta, school closings in Alabama, and government shutdowns in D.C., the same old comments were slung around on the web.
“Schools closed for weather? What a bunch of wimps! Here in (insert cold part of the country) we NEVER close for snow or ice or anything!”
My reaction is equally predictable. I’m huddled inside whining about how cold it is. I’ve usually already made my grocery run for hot chocolate (when you milk a cow and bake your own bread, you miss out on the fistfights for the last loaf and jug), and I started making phone calls calling off my out-of-the house commitments for the next few days.
I am a snow/ice/cold weather wimp, and I don’t care who knows it. I grew up in Florida, so my blood is pretty thin. The only time I miss the state in which I grew up is winter. Winter in Middle Tennessee isn’t as bad as in some parts of the country, but it’s too cold for me. However, with regards to the school closings and government shutdowns, people need to consider the areas in which this happens.
Winters like this only rarely visit the South. For that reason, why would a township invest big money in snow plowing machinery that would be used just a few times a year? For that matter, think about all the people who seldom have a chance to learn to drive on snowy, icy roads. If you don’t have the chance to do it often, it’s unlikely that you are going to get very good at it. Additionally, one idiot on the road who drives like it’s normal conditions can snarl traffic on the interstate for hours. Many school bus drivers may not be all that great at driving on snow. Would you want your child barreling down the road in a bus under hazardous conditions?
My family doesn’t own snow tires or chains, and I don’t know anyone that does. Growing up in Florida, I don’t remember ever owning a heavy coat, much less snow boots. After all, why would you buy an expensive coat for your child if he’s only going to wear it two or three times before he outgrows it?
Dealing properly with cold weather isn’t only a matter of toughness. Fact of the matter is Southern areas are just not set up for extremely cold weather. We don’t have barn space or shelter for animals that calve or are sick in extreme cold. Our water provisions don’t take into account temperatures that don’t get above freezing for days on end. This year, I learned that our “insulated” waterer and “frost-proof” hydrants have a limit to how much extreme cold they can take. I’ve had my milker freeze up, and I’ve gotten back to the house with “ice cream” in the bucket rather than liquid milk.
Bottom line is this … wherever you are from, when you get temperatures and weather that are drastically different from what you are used to, you have to adjust to it. For the South, this means school closings and runs on the milk aisle at the supermarket. There is no wimpiness in making allowances for unusual weather conditions.
So yeah, I may be a cold weather wimp. However, I’ll keep that in mind when July hits and folks from other areas are whining about temperatures of 98 degrees and a heat index of 102. I’ll kick back in my nice, cool house that is made comfortable by a massive A/C unit and relax on muggy summer evenings. I’ll try really hard to not roll my eyes when folks from cooler areas are griping about the “heat wave.”
I’ll watch the news about people sleeping on roofs and fire escapes and going to the beach to cool off. People will be dealing with rolling blackouts, heat exhaustion, and sports cancellations. I might not say it, but I’ll probably be thinking, “Bunch of wimps!”