STATESIDE STORIES: Writing Up a Storm !

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Oregon Department of Transportation crew works to clear the road during a storm/ODT, CC BY2.0
 

By Mary Foran
Photos: M. Foran unless stated otherwise

It wasn’t the first snow situation we had had, but it was worse (unless you were one of those people who LOVE a blanket of snow topped with ice, settling over the widespread city of Portland, Oregon.

So many hills to negotiate, so many stuck commuters desperately trying to get to work, some even abandoning their cars on the freeways and walking the rest of the way… Parking Amnesty called by local officials to cope with the crisis!

This was the kind of weather which “separates the men from the boys,” we opine (but I still need help to put on my chains!).

Warnings from all area meteorologists to stay home and wait it out fall on deaf ears as people struggle not to lose their jobs over a few inclement inches! Buses chain up and lumber along, dodging crazily parked cars by the sides of the snowy roads.

While we are more used to steady rain than snow, there’s a secret thrill that people feel in this area when tackling the elements. “Of course I can make it,” we bluster. And then reality sets in and we realize we’re just not as prepared for winter driving conditions as they are “back East”…

Here schools immediately close their doors for the safety of the children and their parents, and secondarily, for the joy of seeing the children having the time of their lives playing in the whiteness that rarely falls here!

When I was just a tot, I lived for a short time in Spokane, Washington, U.S.A., where snow in the winter was the norm. My best memory of that place was sledding down our neighborhood hill after at least a foot of the fluffy stuff.

Madrid is not known for snow, but the winters can be quite cold. For snow-lovers, a quick trip to the Sierra is all that is needed; for ski-buffs, the Pyrenees call to one and all.

Mary and her snowed “chariot”

For winter travelers, my best advice is to be sure to check the weather reports before you get ready to go to the airport. If you’re caught without the proper winter clothing, you may just have to shop for it when you get to your destination. (Actually, that’s not a bad idea for local economies!)

Shoes seem to be the most difficult things to buy in the right size and style for changing weather conditions. The rest of your winter garb is easy enough to buy when you arrive. So, for all our winter wonderland tourists and home-seekers, plan ahead and bring your boots and a warm cap and gloves, and a warm jacket at least, depending upon where you are headed!

A Very Happy New Year 2017 and Felices Reyes!