”Buy the ticket, take the ride.”

Hunter S. Thompson

This past weekend we set some sorta record here in Columbus, Ohio for the amount of snow that’s fallen in one day. I think the official numbers clock in at 20.5 inches and when you top that off with some pretty steady winds that cause drifting and blowing you’ve got yourself quite the mess.

All three local television channels and their related weather gurus were on the air for most of the day warning people to “STAY INSIDE” as their cameras panned the deserted city streets in a vain search for pedestrians who were brave enough to confront the conditions. The ever expanding crawl at the bottom of the screen posted the names of businesses that had shut their doors for the day and opted for the safety of hearth and home. It seemed that the general public had been coerced into going in some sort of state of hibernation.

Just for shits and grins I called my local watering hole to see if they were open and sure enough a friendly familiar voice greeted me at the other end. When I voiced my amazement that they were open she informed me that the crowd of regulars had already assumed their posts and were gathered around. Not being faint of heart, I decided that cabin fever wasn’t really an option and bundled myself up to walk about a mile or so and hoist a few back with some of my friends. As the day wore on, the place became packed with both the folks who call it home and strangers who had wandered in looking for a hot meal, a few drinks and a good time.

Snow, especially a lot of it and especially when your city isn’t really equipped to deal with it can be a daunting thing. For those that were willing to venture outside, I think it brought out the best in us. Along the way I witnessed cars being stuck at stop signs and traffic lights spinning their wheels and fishtailing left and right. I witnessed groups of strangers pushing them out and on there way. I witnessed kids who left their video games aside and armed themselves with shovels and were going door to door offering to clear walkways and dig out stranded vehicles. I saw one neighbor who had an ancient snow blower trek up and down the block and clear a temporary path. I saw other neighbors making offers to other neighbors to make grocery runs and to stock up on much needed supplies. I saw what to me was an all too uncommon sight, I saw a community come together.

I made that same walk back and forth a couple times over the weekend. By the time late Sunday had rolled around the time had come for me to dig my own car out of the backyard. It took a couple of hours or so.

When school remained cancelled on Monday, Anna’s mom asked if I could take the day off and do “something” with her. We built snowmen and a partial igloo. We had snowball fights and drank hot chocolate. We piled our sopping clothes over the heating vents and in the dryer and settled in and watched corny movies for the rest of the day.

Today, school is back in and I’m typing this from work. Over the past few days I’ve used muscles that I haven’t used in quite some time. I’m stiff and I’m sore but it’s a good kind of stiff and sore and I’m smiling.

”Buy the ticket, take the ride.”

Over the last few days, those words have become some kind of mantra to me.

It’s all good.

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