My friend Jodi moved to Chicago from the quaint, historic town of Charleston, South Carolina, a city with plenty of charming accents and hoop skirts in its colorful past. She moved in September, when the sun was still out and the grass was still green, but in her heart, she knew it was just a matter of time before she had to deal with snow and wind chills that would send her running for thermal socks.
Dive Bombing into December
Jodi’s time ran out on the first day of December. The Midwest transitioned from balmy November breezes by dive bombing directly into December, which for anyone in the Northern Hemisphere spells: Brace Yourself—Winter’s Coming.
Appropriately, on the first day of the month, the snow started coming down. Coming down is one thing. Sticking to the ground, piling up in the driveway, and turning into icy slush on the roads is quite another. Since Jodi had to attend an early morning breakfast meeting on December 1, she wasn’t sure how long it would take her to get there.
Just Slow Down
Assuming people might do the right thing and slow down, drive defensively, and be otherwise respectful of Mother Nature’s seasonal gift to mankind, Jodi allowed extra time. What she didn’t know was that in winter people drive the same way they do the rest of the year—like James Bond in hot pursuit of Goldfinger. But they do keep their headlights on—at least as long as their wipers are scraping back and forth across the windshield.
I attended the same breakfast meeting as Jodi and didn’t even know it had snowed until I backed my car out of the garage. Had I paid more attention, I would have known to leave earlier so I could shovel the walk like a good neighbor and responsible, law-abiding citizen. But, typical for a Monday morning, I was not prepared to add anything to my schedule. I headed into rush hour traffic leaving behind two tire tracks in the driveway that would no doubt be covered up by the time I got home that night. With luck, the sun would come out and it would melt before the next morning and I could dodge the shoveling bullet—at least until the next time.
Don't Hide Your Feelings
Jodi arrived at the meeting a few minutes late—not bad for a first timer. Wrapped in layers of fleece and down, she wore heavy gloves on her hands and a warm wool scarf over her head topped by a hood. All in black—so she wasn’t trying to hide her feelings.
Dashed were her romantic visions of bundling up and strolling through the neighborhood, catching snowflakes on her tongue. Admiring the gentle blanket of snow draped over the rooftops. Sitting in front of a warm, cozy fire, reading an engaging novel, and sipping a steaming mug of hot cocoa with extra marshmallows. Her idyllic winter dreams were replaced by the harsh reality of commuting.
What About Lucy?
If you think Jodi was less than thrilled, you should hear about Lucy. Lucy, Jodi’s half-Dachshund puppy with legs that are all of two inches long, was downright perplexed by the change in the weather. She didn’t have to get behind the wheel of a car, but she had to wade barefoot out into the cold, wet snow where the grass used to be.
Lucy was exposed to an accumulation of precipitation for the first time in her life, which in dog years is pretty old. As she stepped into the strange white stuff, Lucy turned to look at Jodi as if to say, “What do you want me to do?”
Jodi’s response was a simple one—“I want you to HURRY.”
Jodi has put away her sandals in hopes that someday summer will return and she can wear them again. What she doesn’t realize is that the December 1 snowfall was a mere dusting. It’s still a few weeks before winter, and the best is yet to come.