Snow, Sleet Combine For An Icy Weekend

Published 9:49 am Thursday, January 28, 2016

As snows go … this one was maybe a 4 on the 10 point scale. It was great for sledding. Terrible for making a snow man. About two inches of snow were followed by a day of sleet. To measure, it looked like four or five inches at my house — a significant snowfall by our standards.

The thick sheet of ice was slow to melt even after temperatures climbed to 50 degrees for several days following. The impact on schools was lessened by the weekend, but there had been no call when this was written on whether schools would resume Wednesday.

Friday morning I scrambled outside with my trusty leaf blower to chase away the first layer of snow from the sidewalk and steps. That worked great. But the later sleet didn’t budge. I cleared the steps with a shovel, but the sidewalk and driveway didn’t seem that important.

Let it melt away. But that took time.

Our three little Round Hill, Virginia granddaughters have been splitting time between both sets of Advance, NC, grandparents this week. We, fortunately, have been spared nighttime duty.

The girls and I used shovels and a garbage can to make a passable snowman. He is short and squat, a mound of white ice shaped with a head. The girls gathered sweetgum balls from the woods to use for eyes and nose, ears and mouth.

The little girls are here while their parents deal with a 36-inch snow back home.

If our snow would earn a “4” rating, what would the Virginia record snowfall merit?

They got all snow, but it is so deep that the snow would fully engulf the youngest. The middle girl’s head would be above the snow, and the oldest would be up to her arm pits. It’s so deep in Virginia, that young children can’t easily play in it. Walking through the snow, sometimes drifting even higher than three feet, is a challenge.

How can you make a snowman in three feet of snow?

My son Paul has spent a couple of days shoveling out the driveway, piling up snow six feet deep on the side. The snow plows could only move about a foot of snow at a time, requiring several passes, and they have repeatedly gotten stuck. Their previous deepest snow was 22 inches several years ago. This time Virginia got a Boston-worthy snow that won’t soon melt.

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Elizabeth and I were several seasons late in finding the long-running British show “Downton Abbey,” but we are now devotees. The series is in its last season.

Our favorite character is the dowager countess Violet Crawley played by Maggie Smith. This week she sounded like a commercial for the conservative movement in America as she argued for maintaining local control of the community hospital: “For years, I’ve watched governments take control of our lives. Their argument is always the same: ‘Fewer costs, greater efficiency.’ But the result is the same, too. Less control by the people, more control by the State — until the individual’s anguishes count for nothing. That is what I consider my duty to resist.”

• • • • •

The presidential race — all talk so far — will finally get serious next week as Iowans become the first to caucus. Then New Hampshire and Nevada and South Carolina and …  Pretty soon we will have some answers about whether Donald Trump can win the GOP nomination or whether Jeb Bush will finally rise.

– Dwight Sparks