As I sit here gazing out my window upon sheets of white ice, black slush and icicles giving up their existence in deference to slowly (too slowly) elevating temperatures, I reflect upon my status as a native Texan.
As a native Texan, I freely admit that I have no business getting within 20 feet of my car keys as long as I must not absolutely get to the office. Sure, maybe some of those yahoos up in the Panhandle know how to drive in this stuff, but if you’re from Texas you don’t know what you’re doing. Trust me, I see the accident reports listing dozens of drivers who thought they knew what they were doing.
That goes for truckers, too. Listen, you’re basically driving around a few tons of rubber and steel that can squash the rest of us like bugs. Would you put ice skates on an elephant and stick him out on an ice rink and expect good things to happen? (Note to self: check into possibility of finding ice skates to fit elephant.) I was watching one of the Dallas news stations and they were talking to a semi-truck operator who had stranded himself on the bridge. He proceeded to tell the reporter how he was saying to himself earlier that people shouldn’t drive on ice. This is called irony.
Furthermore, as a native Texan, I’m used to going outside at any given time of the year in shorts and not freezing to death. It’s my God-given right as a Texan. That message got lost somewhere over the past few days as I put on something called "layers" and made my way out into the frozen tundra that was formerly my front lawn. I admit, the first day or so it was refreshing to see everything bathed in white and wearing sweats and long-sleeved shirts inside the house. By Day 2 I was getting a bit antsy. By Day 3 I was cursing my luck, and by Monday I was laying in an unresponsive heap on the floor begging for the sun to come visit me. I’m not a winter person.
Enough of my troubles, what was truly sad was the unfortunate timing of the ice storm that blew through. (Another note to self: was it really a storm? Check with the National Weather Service on that.) Melissa took the biggest hit here, I’m afraid. The Santa route, in which Santa makes his way through Melissa neighborhoods, was cancelled, as was the city’s Christmas parade set for later that day. I’m not sure about the Santa route, but the Christmas parade will not be rescheduled. Bummer.
Speaking of downers, I understand that the truck stops in Anna all ran out of gas during the ice episode. This, of course, was as 300 truckers made their way into the city to get off the highway, much of which suffered shutdowns around Van Alstyne.
And what about the poor essential personnel? These are the firefighters, police officers and 9-1-1 operators who have to make their way into work no matter what the roads look like. Give a thought to these guys and gals the next time you’re lamenting having to drive on the ice. I know I will. And while you’re at it, give a good thought to the people working for GCEC or the other energy providers. Not only do they have to drive in this stuff, but they have to get out in it and actually work. I do not envy those people this time of year.
Hopefully, by the time you read this column temperatures will be above "Good gosh this is cold!" and staying there long enough to allow the ice to melt. Let me leave you with this little picker-upper of a thought: winter doesn’t begin until Dec. 21 this year. Enjoy!
Rodney Williams is the managing editor for The Anna-Melissa Tribune and the Van Alstyne Leader. He can be contacted at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.