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Snow Plows, Olympic Suits, Sliding Cars

If your road was left unscraped last week for days, I might know why. A big yellow road grader pushing snow broke down on NC 801 at Bermuda Run on Friday morning. First, a tanker brought gasoline, but that wasn’t the problem. Eventually, the rig had to be loaded on a flatbed trailer and hauled away. A Highway Patrolman directed traffic for several hours. Meanwhile, side roads in eastern Davie went unscraped.

The snow was both wonderful and awful. At about eight inches, it was enough to force people to stay home to enjoy an unscheduled vacation day. That was the good part. The bad was that it was still tempting to crank the car and plow into the snow, risking fenders and bumpers. The snow was deep enough that most vehicles couldn’t go far before the drivers had to walk home.

Once again Clemmons won high praise for its road clearing, especially compared to neighboring Winston-Salem. Mayor Nick Nelson lauded the public works crews for working through the night. The secret formula Clemmons has followed in recent years is to hit the streets early, even while it’s still snowing and before a crust of ice forms.

Some of my Advance neighbors complained that the snow plows arrived too early, before the kids were tired of sledding.

Tom Brown of Davie Farm Service in Mocksville found that snow can be profitable, even if you have to wait for years to cash in. He was left with 200 sleds three years ago and had no opportunity to sell any of them until last week. He sold them all and 60 more that he brought in.

It was a good snow for sledding.

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The sporty BMW coupe zipped by me on the right last Wednesday, oblivious to the heavy snowfall beginning to stick to the highway. The driver braked on Harper Road as it approached Harris-Teeter but the car kept going.

It slid through the intersection, jumped a curb and stopped inches short of buying an expensive sign.

I knew then it was time to head home. If I was still getting along fine with my four-wheel drive, others around me were sliding wildly. At a frantic pace, we had made our newspaper deliveries before the snow began to pile up. We missed three boxes that were too far and too dangerous. The weather forecast had called for snow to start at noon. At 12:30, it did in full force.

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It’s a poor craftsman that blames his tools.

That’s the adage I often dropped on my sons in their youth as they tried to blame the baseball bat for striking out, the piano stool for missed notes or the computer for misspelling words.

The lesson has stuck. My boys quoted the same jingle last week when the U.S. Olympic speed skaters blamed their fancy suits for their poor performances on the ice in Sochi. The Americans went to the Winter Olympics with skin suits created by Lockheed Martin and made by Under Armour which are more aerodynamic. “Mach 39,” the suits are called.

The ballyhooed suits didn’t produce Olympic medals in the first week. The frustrated athletes demanded a switch back to their old suits, also made by Under Armour. And still they didn’t win medals. They looked like whiners.

“We are all a little down right now,” said skater Joey Mantia. “We could make a list of everything that’s wrong, it could be the suits, could be the food, we don’t know.”

It could be in their heads. It could be that the other athletes are simply faster. Winning is never guaranteed.

– Dwight Sparks