The big newsmaker this week has been the weather. It's been the kind of stuff that makes for that famous postman's creed: snow, sleet, rain, yadi, yadi, yada. And, yes, gloom of night. Gloom of day too for that matter.
Most of us have had to confront the weather this week. But give a check to hardest hit areas across our nation before you go too loudly bemoaning our own weather. It certainly could be worse. It is so bad in Chicago that the Windy City had its first school snow day off in 12 years. Around here it has been a safety issue especially with the ice. It's the stuff that keeps orthopedic surgeons busy and rock salt speculators smiling.
Most of us have to deal with the weather to some degree. Others have no choice and we commend those for not being kept from providing crucial services. This would include all police and fire departments. This would include the doctors, nurses and personnel making their way to serve in the Salem and Alliance hospitals. Same with those working at the nursing homes. This would include all EMS workers. This would include all road crew workers, from ODOT down to those working the tiniest of villages. Sure we can gripe if our own non-emergency call to the police, sheriff or patrol isn't answered in record time. Sure we can complain - and many do - if our street or roadway isn't the first on the list to get salted or plowed. But they are doing good, no, great jobs.
We would like to heap a few shovelfuls of praise the way of those who provide the critical services that we all rely on and sometimes take for granted, even when things get bad weather-wise. Besides those mentioned, praise goes to the home heating fuel delivery men who have had to make their way around, often on some really lousy country roads. Not having heat this time of year can't be good. We praise the school administrators for having the common sense to cancel school, especially on Wednesday when - forget roadways for a second - sidewalks and parking lots were making like ice skating rinks. The calamity days issue has been a big topic this school year. Ohio schools now have three such days instead of five. Regardless, if it's a risk factor, don't hold school. Pure and simple. School administrators are bright people and get paid good taxpayer provided wages. They'll figure out how to make up days. We praise the local grocers for keeping shelves stocked with essentials like bread, milk and, well, for some of us, double-stuffed Oreo cookies. We praise newspaper carriers and, of course, mailmen and women. We praise the utility workers who have to shimmy up poles and brave the wind, cold and sometimes dangerous conditions. That can't be fun. We praise the kid who shovels the elderly neighbor's walk for nothing. We praise those who check in regularly on the home bound elderly, maybe with a warm meal in hand. It has too be scary to be home alone in bad weather. Praise all of the good samaritans. We praise cautious drivers. There are a lot of them out there. Some accidents are unavoidable. But some are. Diligent and responsible drivers realize that. Sure the village, city, township cops and the Sheriff's Office and highway patrol have been kept busy. The feeling though is that it could have been worse. Praise conscientious drivers for much of that. Along with road crews working around the clock.
The calendar only reads Feb. 3 and we all know what that means: more winter to come. But look on the bright side. For only the 16th time since 1887, Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early spring on Wednesday. That luvable little member of the rodent family did not see his shadow. Compare that to the 98 times he has which meant prolonged winters. Guess we have to take his word for it with a grain of road salt. Until then, be smart, be safe and be appreciative of those who have made this latest bad winter spell at least somewhat more tolerable. We certainly are grateful.