Pedley’s Ponderings

The winter crud


     Despite my fervent finger-crossing and hopeful wishing, it seems Old Man Winter has arrived and settled in for the long haul throughout the state. Last week's cold snap and Sunday's snowfall provided the proverbial nail in the coffin for Franklin County other portions of Iowa.

     There's not much for me to like about winter anymore. It seems the older I get, the more I despise it. Snow, howling wind and treacherous roads used to mean late starts, early outs, and no school. Now, however, it's quite a different story. This changing of the seasons has become a pain in my backside, and I'd rather it go back where it came from than stay and bother me.

     Long gone are the days of snow-filled childhood fun. Winter provided my friends and I with countless hours seasonal activities – we'd build tunnels in the snow piles, forts in the yard, and have snowball fights on the playground at recess. Those got quickly broken-up by some fun-hating supervisor, but they were a great time nonetheless.

     Snow also provided us with the perfect playing field for one of our favorite activities of all time – snow football. The added layer of cushiony white stuff lessened the blow of a hard tackle, and that was extremely helpful for a pipsqueak like myself back then. I could take a hit and not feel anything – partly because of the snow, and partly because I was freezing cold.

     As I got older, our snow-themed activities gradually began to evolve. Now, everything revolved around a motor. We'd tie anything that would slide to the back of a snowmobile, car or truck. It's a miracle none of us broke our neck in those teenage years. We'd hit the streets, fields and anywhere in between with our crazy antics, and the fact that none of us got smoked by oncoming traffic is a testament to either stupid luck or divine intervention.

     Gradually, however, we moved past all that daredevil stuff. It got old and we just simply hung it up sometime during our junior year of high school. We kind of fell into a lull after that, and we became perfectly content with staying inside where it was warm and there was cable television.

     Wintertime activities again shifted briefly during my first year of college. The first December storm brought with it a thick and sticky batch of snow that blanketed Iowa City with nearly a foot of white stuff. Classes were surprisingly cancelled due to the bad weather, and funny thing happened throughout the campus that day – everyone was eight years old again.

     There was a university-wide snowball fight at the Old Capitol; people went sledding with lunch trays stolen from the dining halls; and freshmen made snow forts outside of the dorms. It was fun and heart-warming, and forgetting about the books for a day was a much-needed break from the standard. Getting cold feet and enjoying it was a nice change of pace.

     The snow-filled merriment was fleeting, however. The weather soon became an annoyance walking to and from class, and can't think of a snowstorm that's been "fun" since that first big one my freshman year of college. Now, snow is just work.

     I can already tell shoveling my walk is going to get old fast. I bought a shovel three weeks ago after we received a light dusting, but I didn't use it until Monday morning. I'm really not looking forward to traveling through this crud for four months, either. I just hope the weather stays good for Christmas – you have to pick the your battles, I guess.

     My griping and groaning won't change anything. We live in Iowa after all, and tough winters are included at no added charge. I'll just have to grin and bear it like the rest of the state, as much as I hate that.

     There's always a silver lining in everything: April is just over 100 days away, so spring is just around the…ah, forget it.

     Nick Pedley is the editor of the Hampton Chronicle, The Sheffield Press and Pioneer Enterprise.