Columnist finds no fun in that wintery white stuff

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If you want the winter to pass swiftly, borrow money due in the spring.

Old Man Winter is in full bloom and sweaters; long johns and nose warmers are in vogue. Also, snow shovels, snow choppers and boxes of snow pellets are at the ready, waiting to fight that persistent winter plague: snow.

Despite those melodious odes to the odious white stuff (“White Christmas,” “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” etc.), I hate, despise, detest, loathe and abhor the small crystals of frozen water formed directly from the water vapor of air when the temperature of condensation is lower than 32 degrees Fahrenheit, especially when they fall in bunches of a trillion a second.

Snow is snowy when it’s snowing, [and] slushy when it’s going — Ogden Nash

I remember one snow day when my car was snowed in and I had to walk to and from Waldbaum’s. When I finally reached home, I was covered head to foot with snow and resembled the Pillsbury Doughboy from the North Pole.

It was a struggle taking off my wet Giants’ stadium jacket, my wet Giants’ sweatshirt and my wet Giants’ snow pants (not to mention my wet Giants’ unmentionables). When Gloria saw me, she said, “Why don’t you take off that purple undershirt, also?” “What purple undershirt? That’s me!” I said.

I do not mind freezing sleet and snow, but I wish they had come in the summer, when the weather is nicer.

How many readers remember the snowfall of February 1969, when the snowflakes were the size of snowballs? Then−Mayor John Lindsay, in his wisdom, decided to clear the snow from Manhattan first and neglected Queens. By the time he got around to it, Whitestone fitted its name. Mountains of accumulated snow turned to ice, leaving Queens snowbound and isolated from the rest of the world.

Living in a drive−in court, every outside thing was buried in snow. Roads were ice−bound, stores were closed and people were unable to get to work — including Gloria, who was beginning her first year as a kindergarten teacher. I was also unable to get to work.

Milk for our two young boys, then 3 and 4, was low and there was no easy way to get a fresh supply. I had to trudge, knee−deep, in snow piles taller than my children for almost a mile until I found a open store selling milk.

So what does one do when one cannot get out of one’s court for many days thereafter? Party! And, with our frolicking neighbors, we did just that for an ice−solid week. That was the only time in my adult life that I loved snow.

It was snowing so hard while I was typing my column, an “etcetera” hid itself in the middle of a sentence.

The following year, I dreamt I was on Bell Boulevard during the legendary blizzard of March 12−14, 1888, which ushered in the modern era of winter misery. It was the snowiest winter in New York since official record keeping began in 1869. The horse−drawn sleighs were not running and I was left stranded. I awoke with icicles down my spine.

A few weeks later, I began to think of my many friends and relatives who had relocated to Florida. Should we? Would we? Could we? No, no and no. Gloria and I are strictly New Yorkers and we would never be happy relocating. Besides, how could I leave my loyal readers behind? I will chill out in Queens forever. Besides, I look good in white.

Nobody was happier than I when Alaska became our 49th state, but I won’t go there until it melts.

Last year, during a snowstorm, Gloria was watching the snowflakes floating down. She mentioned that no two were identical. “Is that so?” I questioned, and promptly conducted a little research to see if she was correct. And guess what? She wasn’t.

Several years ago, scientists had collected hundreds of snowflakes and compared them. They discovered that there was “no discernible difference” among several of the flakes. Their proof is preserved in the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., and some are still down my back from the last snowstorm.

Last week, I had another snow dream. Gloria and I were unable to go to work and she was in her pajamas, sitting near the window watching the snow fall. It was such a beautiful sight that I got into my pajamas also and joined her in counting the snowflakes. We looked at each other and embraced, singing the lyrics of that popular song:

“Oh, the weather outside is frightful⁄But the fire is so delightful⁄And since we’ve no place to go⁄let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.”

Readers, I hope your dreams come true. Let it snow!

Contact Alex Berger at

Updated 6:33 pm, October 10, 2011
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