Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Let's be honest: Most Chicagoland residents LOVE heavy snow

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I was there at 14 during the 1967 snow fall when we didn't have snow blowers and everything was done with a shovel. And in 1979, when the snowfall became the momentum to push out the Chicago Democratic Machine -- briefly -- and make way for a so-called reformer who turned out to be worse than the Machine. And then there was blizzard of 1999, which was bad but never as memorable as 1967 or 1979.

In 1967, we had a Georgian home on Chicago's Southeast Side on south Luella Avenue. We had a sidewalk in the front and the back. The snow piles were huge. I think it happened on a Thursday just before the weekend. The cars were covered in snow along the curbs. Snow plows didn't come through at all for a day. They focused on the main streets. It was family fun.

Nowadays with more people living in the suburbs with long and wide driveways and suburban governments that have little talent and no budget visions, homeowners have to have a snow blower. I was lucky this year. I did buy a motorized snow blower with a tall blower. The scoop is 20 inches tall and 18 inches wide. It replaced the small Toro snow blower that I had for some 20 years and gave to friend. It stillw orks and it's perfect for small driveways and sidewalks.

When we looked out the window this morning, the snow was 18 inches against the glass front door. The drifts had piled the snow three feet against the garage. It was deep. And the driveway is some70 feet long and 15 feet wide, it was covered in two feet of snow.

But it only took two hours to clear the snow. The streets are still a mess. An Orland Park snow plow went by about three hours before barely clearing anything, just a fast zip through. The plow drivers can be great people or jerks, some pushing the snow in front of your driveway on purpose. Most I've talked to are good but this morning the driver took a turn right in front of the house and pushed a wall of snow in front of the end of my driveway.

No Problem. I have a new snow blower.

And it was fun. Slicing through 18 to 24 inches of snow a few inches at a time and shooting the snow onto the grass area.

Let's face it. We love snow. Otherwise, why would we be living in Chicago?

It was fun to watch the news reports pre-empt regular programming to report on the snow. The focus is always on Chicago where there are always problems. But it was nice to see so many people helping each other.

I have no videos or film of the 1967 snow fall. We had a Bell and Howell black and white 35 mm camera, but that was always seen as something you used in the summer for record fun, not work that is fun.

But we took some videos of this year's snow fall which was predicted late on Monday and filled the public with apprehension and fear. Woodfield Mall announced on Tuesday that it would shut down and the Orland Park Mall shut down, too. Nearly every school closed.

This year I experienced the first ever thunder-snow blizzard. Last month, we had thunder and lightning during the snow blizzard. We had the same thing last night. Thunder and lightening. I'd never seen that before in my life. Never heard of it until this year.

Fascinating. Fun. I hope though that everyone did well and that people managed to live through this. As much as it can be fun, a blizzard can also be dangerous. I hope everyone did well and had help from neighbors if they needed it.

-- Ray Hanania

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