O'BRIEN: Big snow storms bring out the best in people

Posted: Feb. 26, 2013 7:30 am Updated: Apr. 9, 2013 9:15 am

By the time this newspaper hits your doorstep, we probably will have shoveled another round of that nasty white stuff from our driveways and sidewalks.

And if you happen to be checking this out on the Internet, you might want to look out your window. I'm guessing you might have to grab a shovel right now.

Welcome to Snowstorm 2: Electric Boogaloo.

This double whammy of weather systems has me thinking back to when the region was "snowverwhelmed" two years ago. Is it better to suffer through one massive storm or two smaller ones? Unless something weird happens, the total from these two storms won't quite match the 22 inches we got on Groundhog's Day 2011.

In a perfect winter world, we would get a nice dusting of snow for everyone to enjoy the Christmas holidays and New Year's, and then it be gone for the season. But this is the Midwest. We chose to live here and can't really say much about those friends who live in warm locales. We all have a few people in our circle of "friends" who bragged about being out in their front porch in shorts and a T-shirt last week while we were busy digging out.

We couldn't help but salivate a bit when seeing images from the first spring training games of the baseball season. Palm trees have never looked so good.

But there is something to be said for living somewhere where you have to deal with winter's wrath every now and then.

Now, I would never want to live somewhere where wintery weather is a way of life.

Two years ago, we spotted railroad crossing arms on interstates and off ramps while traveling through South Dakota during the summer. One of the locals told us that they have to put those down every so often when the snow really starts to pile up. The Badlands were nice to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there. The only place I want to see railroad crossing arms is at an actual railroad crossing, not on a road that I should be going 65 mph.

My parents told me that Alaska is beautiful. I'll take their word for it. Way too much snow up there for my tastes. Same goes for the Northeast. Maine might be great in September, but I wouldn't any part of it in December.

Sure, it would be nice to be able to wear flip-flops in February. Those same people bragging in Florida also need to cross their fingers every year that a hurricane doesn't strike. I would rather deal with a little thundersnow than worry about my house blowing into the ocean.

Probably the best thing around here is that when we get dumped on like we did last week, people help each other out. The human spirit usually shines through. A member of the Quincy Police Department posted on their Facebook page how thankful they were to see citizens helping dig each other out when people were stuck trying to get home on Thursday.

My neighbors came to the rescue again by helping shovel my driveway, which allowed my wife to get her car into our garage. I tried to return the favor by helping them dig out when they did their driveway. You'll see total strangers helping each other out. Does this happen in spots where they get snow all the time? It's possible, I guess, but I'd like to think of us Midwestern folks being a little more friendly than those in other places.

I'm sure many of the same things will happen over the next 24 hours or so as we dig out again.

Let's hope that this is the last snowstorm of the season. I hate trilogies.



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