Features Jan-June 2003

Ban the snow

 ... I was born in Buffalo. I know snow

by Jackie Wattenberg

As a child I loved snow. From the time of the first Labor Day snowfall until summer began, I loved snow. We walked to school between mountains of snow so high we couldn't see across the street. Didn't everybody?

This was winter. So there was snow. Every day. School never closed because there was a little snowfall of 10 or 20 feet. We weren't sissies.

We wore thick hats and mufflers and long underwear and leggings and arctics--OVER our shoes and tough as nails to yank off in school. We caught snowflakes on our tongues, made angels in the snow, slid down our front lawn hill on our sleds and made snowmen and snow bears. My sister and I dodged my brother's hard-pounded snowballs. Or we joined in to see who could hit the big oak tree most often. He won.

We loved going to the park along the Niagara River each fourth of July to see the fireworks exploding over the hills of sparkling snow. Charming!

We knew snow fell elsewhere. We even thought it fell in Florida. And sometimes snow didn't respect the seasons. In Chicago years later, my husband grew some stunning tulips. My two little girls went out one Easter morning to pick a few tulips and found them encircled beautifully with snow. What a lovely sight! They went around singing "I'm Dreaming of a Whiiite Easter"!

But that was then, I've had it with snow! All the soaking feet and shoveling and making angels-- been there, done that! The poor little crocuses may be so chilled they'll turn around and go back under! My little lilac bush buds have shrunk!

I'm hibernating. I refuse to go out and scrape the damn snow off my car windows. And maybe get stuck like last January when my car wanted to rest for four days, its front wheels stuck and whirling in a mattress of ice and snow so I was house-bound. But now it's spring! Two friends and a singing pupil refuse to leave their homes to come to my house. What's happening here? Why are we taking this abomination?

I've done a little research--it is NOT snowing in Malden, Wakefield or Stoneham! Only in Melrose! Is that fair? Is that legal? What is Mayor Dolan doing about this? I just called City Hall-- the Mayor is not in! Where is he? He should be here protecting his citizens from this ridiculous snowfall and protesting its springtime intrusion!

I'm mad! Do I need sonething else to be mad about? I'm mad about the war. I'm mad about the big tax break for our richest one percent. I'm mad about lousy India restaurant food I had Sunday night. I'm mad that Bread and Bits doesn't make cherry pie, only their delicious apple. I'm mad that Pauli's doesn't have stuffed shells anymore. I'm mad that I can't find Heinz's great dill pickles anywhere within reach. I'm mad that we don't have one shoe store in Melrose. I'm mad that I never win the lottery--although people tell me you have to buy tickets to win. I'm mad about Crossfire being canceled for total war news. I'm mad that my big gold cat Sweet Potato won't go outside in this snow and doesn't even know how to use my small cat's litter box--he just doesn't care!

I'm mad that my fourth cordless phone put a shushing sound on my every word and often fades on long distance calls. I'm mad that I have to wait in line to check out in Shaw's and that the checker then has to do the bagging too--why? I'm mad that right after Easter I won't find a single box of Peeps! Not any where! I'm mad that Turner's only serves GARLIC mashed potatoes--can't I have a choice of no garlic? Why is the New York Times so hard to find? And why is the Washington Post totally forbidden in Melrose, even in the Library?

And speaking of the Library, why, do they have those weird voices belonging to nobody in their building constantly on their phones? They make me mad! Who are they? Why not have Diane with the sweet voice do the voice-over? Why doesn't the Mayor do something about this? Of course he can't--if he is afraid of a little snow and isn't even in his office when I call to register my complaint! That makes me mad!

I know this is a time when an invasion is accepted, but I cannot accept the invasion of winter snow in spring after the hard-boiled winter we've suffered through. Even Buffalo had NO SNOW this morning! Why Melrose? "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" opens tonight--the snowstorm may dampen attendance! Is that fair? I bet those tired overworked theatre people are mad as ...hen's teeth! What if the blizzard stretches into Sunday and discourages people from hearing that man speaking in the UU Church or those great short plays by Tug Yourgrau? What about the depression of minister and priests if the snow keeps people from going to church?

It's unacceptable! It's unnecessary! It's Un-American! It's Anti-Spring!

It makes me mad! Mad! MAD!


May 2, 2003


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