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ArlingtonOpinion'Old School' column: Words from On High

‘Old School’ column: Words from On High

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by CAROL McEWEN, for the Sun Gazette

My Christmas wish has finally come true.

No, it wasn’t for a new Mercedes or a Rolex. It was to see snow from my eighth-floor condo window. A combination of warmer weather and extended absences had robbed me of that pleasure since we arrived in June of 2019.

As I looked out my window, I would have sworn I was in fog-shrouded London. Or maybe San Francisco if fog horns bellowed.


Nope, it was good ol’ Arlington at its prettiest. The next-door big pine looked like a huge Christmas tree, and the trees behind us could have been dusted with powdered sugar.

As the day progressed, I came to understand the meaning of the term “whiteout” – and it’s not that stuff we buy at Staples.

Besides the beautiful but limited views, I also loved the QUIET. No construction booms, no car horns, and even the train behind our building was standing still. Maybe frozen to the tracks?

Snow removal from our first Arlington house was easy, since we lived on the sunny side of the street and our driveway sloped downhill. Often, we did little or no shoveling; Mr. Sunshine did the work for us.

One year, we loaded our snowsuit-clad 4-year-old onto her plastic sled, put the leash on our golden retriever (a snow-lover if ever there was one) and walked to Safeway.

After stocking up on “supplies” (probably enough to feed the Third Army), we cleverly put the groceries in the sled with her. There she sat, surrounded by jugs of milk, a loaf of bread, chili makings, a chicken, a nice pack of toilet paper for her pillow, and enough Coke to host a party.

(Have you ever noticed how polite people are when they’re not in their cars? The same people who might cut you off in traffic or honk at you suddenly smile and say “hi.”)

As our family grew, we moved to a bigger house, which presented more snowy-weather challenges. Its two-car, uphill driveway, long sidewalk and trek to the front door weren’t so idyllic when it came time to clear the snow.

My husband and I shoveled together until the Year of His Broken Leg. As I struggled with the snow blower, overwhelmed by the wet, heavy snow, two boys from across the street arrived with their parents’ shovels in hand, and helped me without being asked. Classic Arlington good neighbors.

This Old Schooler has many happy memories of snow, especially since I’m not shoveling it.

Reach Carol McEwen at carolwrites4fun@gmail.com.

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