Hoping for a White Christmas This Year

by Tom Purcell
[cartoon id="246744"] We got blanketed with 10 inches of snow last week and I loved it - because I love how snow slows us down and brings us to our senses. When it snows in Pittsburgh, people pour out into the streets. We shovel our sidewalks and driveways, invigorated by the crisp air and some vigorous activity. We sip hot coffee and catch up with neighbors, enjoying much-needed conversation in this isolated year - conversation made possible by snow. Even now, snow fills me with the joy I experienced as a boy when school was canceled. Even now, I head for the sledding slopes to frolic with childlike innocence and laughter for a few hours or more. I formerly lived in Washington, D.C., and, boy, did I love when it snowed there. I still do. This is the town where our allegedly smart political and government leaders decide what’s best for the rest of us. They pass complex laws few legislators read. Regulators interpret those laws to create rules that are often incomprehensible. They issue health guidelines that they say we must follow because they think we’re not smart enough to protect ourselves. But when a few white flakes fall from the sky, these very same people go into a panic. D.C. goes into shutdown mode. Government offices are shuttered. Washingtonians, some of whom tell us not to use toilet paper and bottled water because they’re bad for the environment, flock to the store to hoard toilet paper and bottled water. Snow is real, you see. It falls out of the sky at its own whim. You can slip on it and hurt yourself. You can wreck your car if you aren’t careful. Your postal carrier or Amazon delivery person can slip on your walk, if it isn’t shoveled, and you may be sued. In the heartland, though, we don’t panic. We pick up shovels and clear our sidewalks, then do the same for our elderly neighbors. We plan ahead. We prepare. We have a tremendous capacity to think and act based on a dying concept called common sense - the ability to assess situations and make sensible decisions. And because we’re prepared for the reality of snow falling from the heavens, we’re able to understand the wonderful lesson that snow teaches us. Snow reminds us that despite all of our innovations and technologies, we cannot control much of what happens in life. All we can control is how we respond to what happens. Snow humbles us. It keeps our common sense in good working order. We know that sweeping government restrictions and mandates - even if they have good intentions - produce many unintended consequences. We know that the more that government stays out of our lives - the more we are free to make decisions about what is best for ourselves and our families’ well-being - the better off we all are. Snow tells us to slow down a little bit, reflect on what is most important in our lives - our loved ones - and take a break from the unending difficulties and challenges that have lingered throughout this year. That’s why we sure could use another nice coating of snow. And that’s why I’m hoping for a white Christmas this year! - Copyright 2020 Tom Purcell. Tom Purcell, author of "Misadventures of a 1970's Childhood," a humorous memoir available at amazon.com, is a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review humor columnist and is nationally syndicated exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. For info on using this column in your publication or website, contact [email protected] or call (805) 969-2829. Send comments to Tom at [email protected]