Friday, November 15, 2019

ROBBLOG #808- Four letter words: Snow. Cold.


I received photos, emails and texts from friends and family back in Ontario this past week.

It seems something strange happened.
Well, two things actually.
It was even reported in the news.

It snowed.
It got cold.

Strange?
I'd say the usual.
It's November and it snowed and got cold in Ontario.
People forgot what -15 Celsius felt like.
They do every year.
I used to do that too. I would conveniently forget-
That water freezes.
That driving is awful.
That a shovel is required to clear sidewalks and driveways.

Do I miss Ontario living here on Vancouver Island with the green grass, mild sunshine, occasional showers and no -15 Celsius temps?
I must admit, I miss the "idea" of snow.
You know, that first snowfall when everything is clean and white and the dead leaves, brown grass and twiggy bushes are dusted with the white stuff.
The picture postcard views.
I miss the clear, crisp smell of snow when it covers lawns and hedges but not on the roads and sidewalks.

Our yellow lab Kiki and our mini-schnauzer-Missy, loved the snow when we were in Ontario. Both these girls have passed over the Rainbow Bridge now but we still have videos of each of them frolicking in the snow. It was fun to watch and a brisk walk in puppy coats for them and hats, scarves and gloves for the Mister and I will always be a part of my memories not only of Orillia but of Kiki and Missy.

Once the Christmas Holidays passed, the romantic idea of snow and cold would leave come January when every day was the same- more cold and more snow.
Snow then cold.
Winds, snowsquall advisories and of course cold.

Orillia Downtown in 1952. Snowbanks loom just as large in 2019
It was difficult to go to the grocery store for milk some days.
Driving on slippery roads was a magic trick of sorts. I must say I was pretty good at it but don't ask me to pull a rabbit from a black, felt top hat!
I can remember driving way west out of my normal routing on city streets just to avoid hills in our North Ward neighbourhood. On winter hills in Orillia, cars spun out and slipped and skidded at four way stops.
The city plied sand on top of snow-covered streets.
It never helped.
Never.
I know because I drove those streets for decades.
At least driving around and about and taking the less hilly route home, I was able to drive into a convenient Tim Horton's for a large coffee with milk.
My reward.
Then, leaving the Tim's lot I turned left and then right driving carefully down a snow covered hill and left along a one-way street eventually turning into our triple-wide driveway.

Orillia never seems to get the hang of winter and the fact when it snows usually the flakes cover the streets and sidewalks. Maybe Orillia should pick up and move the city west where umbrellas and mud and snow rated tires are all that's requited. That's the tires with the little triangle on the side and sometimes the letters "M&S" or a snowflake logo.
I mention this because these tires are required to be on vehicles October through April when crossing over the Malahat to Victoria. The Malahat might have snow at it's 1200 foot summit and it's good to have the required tires.
If you don't there's a large fine waiting for you.
Of course you can refrain from driving over the top until spring.

Back to Orillia.
My brother was complaining about snow-covered streets this past week even though I read in the hometown "online" newspaper that the city had bought two new plows and hired more snow removal people.

Maybe Ontarians get a little too anxious to have the snow scraped from streets immediately after it falls. It takes time and a lot of patience.
Listen to that...
Wise-winter words from a westerner who lives just about as far west as one can get in this country.

Oh, in case you were wondering.
I still have three pots of geraniums blooming at the front of the house and a huge fern enjoying mild, light-filled days on the Lanai.
The magnolias, laurels and palms are still green and the Oregon Grape, Camelias and Heather are all getting ready to bloom soon.

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