Are we weather wimps?

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By John Foster

I’m one of those people. You know the ones. You work with us, and our president is one of us. We come from places north of here and like to try to impress you with stories of snow over our heads or -50-degree days — emphasis on the negative sign — or that we never had a single day off school for snow regardless of how many feet of snow fell the day before.

So you can probably see where this is going.

But you’re wrong. I’m not going to write about how big of wimps or idiots or anything else people from Kentucky are, because you’re not. I’m actually on your side.

When we moved to Kentucky it was summer. The old-timers told us stories of how they migrate to Florida because they couldn’t stand the winters anymore.

My mindset was the same as the person who forwarded an e-mail to me this week about when the weather gets to 20 degrees people in Wyoming have their last barbecue of the summer, “before it gets cold” and at 25 below zero, Girl Scouts are selling cookies door-to-door.

But to be honest, Kentucky winters are worse in some ways than those never-ending Wyoming winters of six feet of snow in the front yard.

Sure they aren’t as long or as cold, but what they lack in those categories, they make up for in dreariness.

The typical Kentucky winter day just wears you down with its gray skies, mud and humidity that works its way to the bone. I’ll take 20 degrees and snowy over 40 degrees and rainy any day.

The inconsistency of weather here also makes it tough to cope when a serious winter storm comes through.

I’ve played golf on a Christmas and a New Year’s Day since I’ve lived here. And there ain’t nothin’ wrong with that, but it sure doesn’t prepare you for the worst. Inevitably, about once a year a serious winter storm comes through, and there’s really no way to be prepared for that. Are we all going to convert to four-wheel drives and wood stoves for the sake of one week?

Instead we have to cope with our two-wheel drives and hope the ice doesn’t take out our electric heat.

Anyway, there’s like five roads in the whole state of Wyoming, not that big of deal to clear off.

But the real thing Kentucky has going for it in the weather wimps debate is the ice. I don’t have to tell you, that ice can mess you up in a serious way.

Snow I can deal with. Sure you have to shovel it and blow it or risk getting stuck in your parking lot, but really it’s not that big of deal. Snow rests on power lines and trees, just chillin’. If it piles up too high, it falls off without a fight.

Not so with ice. It says to the tree, “If I’m going down, you’re coming down with me. And I’m taking out whatever is in the way. You don’t believe me, just try me.”

With snow, when you’ve parked your car, you’re done moving.  I’ve never stopped in a seemingly flat parking lot full of snow, and put the car into park only to realize I am still moving. With a sheet of ice, you stop moving when it decides you stop moving.

So whatever those condescending Northerners may say about your winter toughness when they see the mad scramble for milk and bread at the sign of a few flurries and a total freak-out on a road dusted with snow, I’m on your side. In my opinion, anyone who braved through a 20-degree week without power can never be called a weather wimp. Even if you weren’t hosting the last barbecue of the summer.

E-mail us about this column at: jfoster@oldhamera.com