What Happens When It Snows On Floridians?


In the 40 years I’ve lived in Palm Beach County, I’ve seen it snow here once. I had only recently moved from the North and was therefore unimpressed. I didn’t realize it was an unusual occurrence. In fact, I was miffed. Weren’t these people bragging about their high temperatures all the time? Obviously a bait-and-switch.

In retaliation, it never snowed here again.

Over the years, when I missed the white stuff, I would visit our timeshare in Colorado or family in Wisconsin. Colorado is beautiful and hip (if anything is “hip” anymore), and I am intensely grateful to its residents for having the political fortitude to ban billboards statewide. By sticking to their guns on this, they have preserved a smattering of what our country actually looks like. It’s a big outdoor museum where we get to see exactly what the pioneers saw — amber waves of grain and purple mountains’ majesty, not “Joe’s Bar & Grill! Turn left! Do it now!”

This winter, I am in Kansas City, visiting my new grandson and, hopefully, being available as a lifeline to my daughter. Last winter, Kansas City had 4.6 inches of snow. It was warm and sunny — “spring-like,” she said. Everyone was touting the benefits of global warming.

But I’m here now, so in rolled the storm of the century — they called it “The Blizzard of Oz.” The temperature dropped to 18 degrees. It snowed 4.6 inches in two hours. The cars in the driveway became indistinguishable from snowdrifts. My Florida license plate? Missing in action.

Because I like snow, I liked the weather. The leafless black trees were outlined in white. In time, twinkling crystal icicles formed. You couldn’t see roads or footprints. It was like people had never existed.

Best of all, businesses were closed and my daughter got to spend a rare day with her son. Because there were no noisy cars on the road and the snow insulated the house, it was calm, quiet and gorgeous — like in The Shining.

OK, maybe that’s not the best example. What I’m trying to say is that the freezing weather warmed my heart.

Not so for my husband, Mark.

Mark moved to Florida because “Hot”lanta was too cold. During Kansas City’s storm, he stayed glued to the Weather Channel, miserable, and called out the temperature every time it dropped one degree.

“23,” he’d moan. “Now it’s 22!”

“You’re in the house,” I’d yell back. “It’s 72!”

Then, because her own husband was on a business trip, Jen asked Mark if he’d shovel the driveway. His eyes got wide and he started to stammer, but then she introduced him to something the Midwesterners call a “snowblower.”

Mark loved the snowblower. He was out there for four hours, snowblowing everything in sight — the driveway, the walkways, the street in front of the house.

“The city does that!” Jen called out.

“Come back inside!” I yelled.

As soon as he’d created a turnaround for buses and a figure-eight just for fun, he did come inside. He came in, turned on the Weather Channel and hollered, “They’re predicting more snow for tonight!”

But he sure sounded like he was grinning.