The snow. This was quite a week as winter’s wrath finally blasted its bitter cold and an icy mess across the country. A record low of zero and about a half foot of fluffy stuff made its mark on February. Yet another sign that the globe spins and seasons change, although awkwardly at times.
As the designated driver for a shopping trip to Kroger and Walmart, I was sure things would be hectic; after all, “snowmageddon” was forecast to sock it to us. Inside, shopping carts were a commodity. Those that had them were overloaded. Others had to wait for the next parking lot catch. Like a semi-truck entering a weigh station on the interstate, drivers – or in this case, shoppers – blocked main entry points as they inched their loaded carts to the check-out stand. It was chaotic.
I don’t mean to mock the annual frenzy, but I was involved in a number of near head-on cart collisions as I rounded corners and scooted my cart aside not realizing a cart pusher’s intent as they meandered through the aisleway. Rather than complaining, I decided to make it a social experiment and observe people, and their baskets, as they braved the day.
Several decided to buy snow shovels with handles conspicuously standing upright in their carts. These were unlike our shovels in Michigan, as I recall. Ours had solid oak handles and curved steel blades. These were aluminum handles with a small slightly curved blade. With 10-15 inches of snow predicted, I was happy to see their optimism. It was encouraging.
It dawned on me that things seemed as normal as any snow storm of the past – besides the wearing of masks, of course. People were acting just like they have always acted when snow was forecast. There was no commotion. People were being generally courteous as they shopped, but determined to have enough food to make it through the frozen tundra. Again, I took it as a good sign.
The prompting to act by the prediction of a dreadful snowstorm, the likes of what we have experienced in the past with loss of power and impassable roads, motivated cabin fever folks to get out and get going. Maybe it was just the thing we needed. To me, it suggested people will do what it takes to preserve their well-being.
The government did their part. Weather advisories, driver warnings and pre-treating roads with brine. Churches and schools canceled, so the only thing left was for people to take action for their families. For those who couldn’t, those vulnerable, I have heard many stories of faith-based groups and individuals helping them find shelter and food.
This was about the American spirit. How creative and industrious we are in the midst of a challenge. While our reactions to this extreme weather are not unprecedented, the COVID-19 pandemic is. After nearly a year, depression is rampant, and people just want to feel normal. So, watching people busily preparing was encouraging.
As I finished writing the previous sentence, I received this text, so I am including it: “I hope you are doing okay; those brighter days are on their way … soon. What do you miss the most? I miss seeing my family and friends and hugs. Stay strong and be well.”
I couldn’t make a better point and the message was delivered at just the right time. Yes, we have endured much over the past year. We continue to face a political mess in Washington and the continued ambiguous nature of the virus. But winter can’t last forever.
Is snow and ice our friend? Let me say it this way: nothing is more beautiful than a fresh blanket of snow and crystal-clear icicles glistening in the sun. On the other hand, winter can be deadly. Our response to prepare, overcome, even move the snow with a tiny shovel is a great sign that people are ready to move ahead. This is temporary, so seize the moment, rise to the occasion, and overcome fear.
I am not suggesting we underestimate any of the challenges of the virus or shirk our responsibility to one another, but I am suggesting we can learn from a simple trip to the grocery store before a winter storm. For those of you who may be disappointed that I didn’t write about politics this week, make some snow cream and call me in the morning.
Stay strong and be well. Spring is coming.
Greg DeLancey is the 1st District chairman for the Republican Party of Kentucky. He may be reached at email@example.com.
Editor’s Note: Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of the Murray Ledger & Times.