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Berger’s Berg: Spring snowstorms no fun to dash through

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Everyone knows that I abhor winters and I especially loathe SNOW. Therefore I was tickled pink that spring, my favorite season of the year and the "snow-terminator," finally sprung on March 20. I look forward to neighbors who have been hibernating throughout the winter, finally getting to see what one another looks like once again.I love to hear lawn mowers being tuned up, I like to watch outdoor furniture being reassembled, and I like to witness young men's fancies passionately turn to ... baseball? Ah, spring. But I experienced one particular spring that had a different scenario Ð S-S-S N-O-W! and lots of it.My Gloria is a schoolteacher. Every year, we used to spend her spring school breaks visiting my sister, Flo, in Buffalo. Now, for those people who are unaware of the infamous Buffalo winters, this story tells it all. A TV weatherman was reciting his weather report, during another cruel Buffalo snowstorm. He walked to the studio window, looked at the whiteout, frowned, removed his microphone and earpiece, said he was moving to Florida, walked off the set and never returned. Buffalo is quite a snowy city.During those spring Buffalo vacations, our family would spend part of the time in Toronto, Canada, my favorite city in the whole Western hemisphere, with the exceptions, of New York City, and East Rutherford, New Jersey, the home of the football Giants. Toronto was just a pleasant two-and-a-half- hour drive from Buffalo.Several springs ago, we were enjoying ourselves in the city of refinement, strange accents, and the CN Tower, feasting on piping hot bowls of oatmeal sprinkled with cinnamon, nuts, and brown sugar. We were then paged and led to the telephone where a frantic Florence was calling."Come back to Buffalo" she implored, "a major snowstorm is coming.""But it is spring," I reminded my good sister, let us finish breakfast first." "NOW!" she reiterated. Since everyone knows my unloving love for snow, even the flurry kind, and being a good baby brother, I listened to her. I told Gloria to pack up as I ran to the front desk to pay the bill. I then herded my reluctant wife, and my two reluctant sons, (Jon, 9 and Vance, 8), all wanting to stay, into our car and off we sped.We headed for the Queen Elizabeth Way (the Long Island Expressway of Canada) hoping to reach it before the first snowflake flew. But, as luck would have it, no such luck befell us. I saw one snowflake, then 12, then l, 673,987.36 little frozen buggers swirling down on us.Each one made certain to land directly atop my car, and on the windshield where they stubbornly and stiffly froze. My windshield wipers were helpless.The QEW's three-lane highway was soon reduced to two, then one lane, because of the impassable high drifts. Visibility was near zero, and road speed was down to five miles per hour. We wanted to stop somewhere to wait out the blizzard but couldn't because we were in the midst of the convoy of distressed vehicles and there was no place to pull over and park.At one point, I saw something on the road in front of us. It was a collie dog lying on his side, still breathing. How he got there, I'll never know. There was no way to stop and place it out of harm's way. Rather than run over the poor animal, I nervously drove up on the slippery snow bank to avoid running him over. However, I was not too confident that many of the other cars behind me would take the same swerving risk to avoid hitting the dog. The picture of that suffering dog still haunts us to this very day.We finally made it to the U.S. border only to meet another obstacle. The Buffalo street signs were completely covered with snow. Without these guides, I had no way of knowing how to get back to Florence's house. There was no one in the street to ask directions, and cell phones weren't invented yet. We slowly drove along and I stopped at a house with the least amount of ice. The nice lady allowed us to use her telephone."Where are you?" Flo questioned. "I reported you missing to the police." To make a long story short, the woman directed us home. The "pleasant two and one half hour drive from Toronto to Buffalo" took a long, very long, 9 l/2, anxious hours. We were very happy several years later that Florence finally followed her weatherman's lead and moved to Florida.To reinforce the given that spring-time snow is a short-lived inconvenience, I re-read Jean Horton Berg's poem, "April Snow," to assure me that I will outlast it:"Snow slipped quietly down last night, when the world was fast asleep. This morning jonquils and hyacinths waked up and tried to peep. Over the feathery blanket of white that covered all the ground, Branches, bending beneath its weight, complained with creaking sounds. North Wind blew a blustering blast. "I'll chase the snow," he said. But he couldn't and finally, warm Mr. Sun (cheerfully) smiled it away instead."I HATE SNOW!!!Reach columnist Alex Berger at timesledger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

Posted 7:03 pm, October 10, 2011
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