The above picture is from the intersection of 60th and Burnham in the city of West Allis Wisconsin, where this writer happens to live. Although this picture was from a few years ago the scene looked much the same this past weekend. In Wisconsin we are prone to freezing temperatures and large amounts of snowfall. This Friday/Saturday we received what I am guessing was around 8 inches of snow.
As you can imagine by looking at the picture above, this makes travel difficult. A simple trip to the grocery store that would normally take ten minutes can take at least twice that. It also adds an element of danger as roads become slippery and vision becomes reduced. On top of all of this is the inconvenience of having to clear snow, put down salt and other steps to make your path safe and easy to travel.
On a personal level, I could do without all of this. I am not a fan of winter and would prefer to live somewhere much warmer. Until that happens, I am left to face these conditions with the best outlook I can muster. On Friday I worked a 16 hour day between two jobs. On the way to job number two, DJing at a local establishment named Limanski’s, Margie and I had to drive through the main portion of the snow storm. The roads were slippery and several drivers were using questionable judgement. On the way home at roughly 2 a.m. the roads had only gotten worse and there was a batch of freezing rain to make the drive a little more exciting.
The following morning we needed to attend the funeral of a very dear friend’s mother. That meant having to clear out our driveway and a path to the car prior to departure and allowing extra time to get there. From the moment I stepped out of the house, the day began to shift. The weather was fairly warm (around 34 degrees) There was the hum of snowblowers and the scrape of shovels working to clear the results of the night before. I grabbed my shovel to join masses in our labor. The snow was heavy and one had to be careful not to lift with your back. After clearing a path to the car and the snow the plows had left in front of our driveway we were ready to go.
I was concerned as to what the conditions of the roads would be. The concern was unfounded. Roads that only hours before had seemed unpassable now were completely free of snow. We witnessed several trucks working to plow and salt the streets on our way to the funeral.
After the funeral, Margie needed to complete one of her amazing cakes for a customer. I knew she had not had any breakfast and volunteered to grab her a nice breakfast sandwich. After dropping her off to work, I began to drive to get a breakfast sandwich from Kwick Trip. It is a gas station with a rather expansive convenience store inside, featuring breakfast sandwiches amoung other things. On my drive there I witnessed countless people shoveling, using their snow blowers and just doing their best to navigate the streets and sidewalks.
Normally, this would be a rather depressing sight to someone who loves and wishes he lived in the tropics, but not today. Each person I saw seemed to be wearing a smile. I saw neighbors helping each other. I saw a family building a snow man and children playing with sleds. It would seem everyone today was making the best of the situation and not letting it dampen their spirits.
When I arrived at Kwik Trip, I realized the price of gasoline was quite reasonable and decided to top off my tank. When I went inside to pick out some food for Margie and I as well as pay for my gasoline, I was greeted with the most pleasurable service. I was asked if I needed help finding or picking out anything. When I arrived at the counter I was not only reminded to enter my rewards card number, but asked if I needed any beverages to accompany my food purchases. The whole time I was greeted with a smile.
On a day when most people had an excuse to be irritable, it was great to see most everyone in my community doing their best to keep a smile on their face and share it with others. Just a good reminder that life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it. I would love to hear any positive winter stories you have to share.