As winter’s go, this one wasn’t too much of a problem until this week, when Mother Nature apparently decided it was time to wreak havoc.
However, growing up on Division Street in Defiance in the mid-1970s and 1980s, winter never seemed bad, because to be honest, I loved snow. There were many fun times spent with friends and family going sledding, having snowball fights and building snowmen, that winter was always a welcome time of year.
Yes, I did live through “The Blizzard of ‘78,” but I was only 8 at the time, so all that snow only made that winter more fun.
In fact, there was nothing better than watching the news during the winter to see when the “next big snow” was going to hit. I remember many times going to bed hoping we would get enough snow so school would be cancelled the next day.
Oh, that feeling of joy after waking up and turning on the radio to hear, “Defiance City Schools are closed.” After hearing those words, it was time to spring into action!
The first order of business was to call all my friends in the neighborhood to organize “the shoveling.” We would get together and take turns shoveling each other’s sidewalks and driveways, which would save time for us to “get to the fun stuff.”
That “fun stuff” included going sledding on the hills behind many of the houses along Holgate Avenue, exploring the banks of the Maumee River, or organizing a neighborhood snowball fight.
One of the most fun activities my group of friends would do during the winter, was to meet at our friend Chuck Snyder’s house on Jackson Avenue, and watch his dad, Don, turn their back driveway into a sheet of ice with the garden hose.
Once it was frozen, Chuck had a net we would set up, before he would put on a combination of catcher’s gear and hockey goalie gear to play all-time goalie. The rest of us would split into teams to play “half-court hockey,” with hockey sticks and a tennis ball.
The hours we spent on that frozen driveway were such a blast, and we didn’t care how cold it was, because we knew his parents would have hot chocolate waiting for us when we finished.
What many of us come to realize when we become adults is, that unless you really love, love, love snow, winter ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Who doesn’t get sick of trudging outside to clean the snow off the car before going to work? Or putting up with the high costs to heat the house? Or spending what seems like forever shoveling the driveway and sidewalks, only to come inside with a backache?
Long gone are the days where I wake up excited I don’t have to go to school because of a snowstorm. I can tell you that in my nearly 29 years working at the newspaper, I can remember only one day we almost didn’t get a paper out because of a winter blast.
That day I had to walk two blocks from where I lived on Riverside Avenue to Jefferson Avenue, where someone with a big truck picked me up so I could help put the newspaper together.
Many times I wake up in the winter longing to hear these words on the radio, “The Crescent-News is closed.”
So far it hasn’t happened.
The older I get, the more I realize the “Snowbirds” have the right idea.
Every winter I ask Connie, “Why do we live in the north?”
Most of the time we laugh and blame our families, who came here from Europe and settled in this part of the United States. (And we blame our parents for not moving away to somewhere warm).
The truth is, Connie and I would love nothing more than to “winter” in Florida.
As soon as we win the lottery, we plan to do just that.