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Comments & Curiosities: Ever seen it? It's called snow

December 04, 2010|By Peter Buffa

I'd hardly call the weather outside frightful. Yes, the fire is delightful and who says we have no place to go? So let it, you know … snow. That's not exactly what Sammy Cahn had in mind when he wrote most of that in 1945, but you get the idea. Do they ever let it snow around here? Only if you use the loosest definition of snow. There are a few flurries now and then, as long as "now" and "then" are separated by 10 or 15 years. We make do with our pretend winter but there are some great events that have become holiday traditions in Newport-Mesa land.

Thursday was Weichman Realtors' annual Polar Express train ride and fun stuff day, with Mr. Claus and company at the Goat Hill Junction miniature railroad. And, next Saturday, is Torelli Realty's annual Holiday Snow Land, with 40 tons of man-made snow at Balearic Park, which is about 40 steps from my house. Over the years I have made my way to Valerie's snow fest in the park to see one thing, and one thing only: little kids who have never — or seldom seen — snow trying to figure out what to do with it. You can't beat that.

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But it occurred to me that it might be useful for small, California-grown people to know how snow really works in the places where the white stuff falls from the sky, not from a truck. When you are a kid in a place where "cold" does not mean 40 degrees, you pray for snow and you pray hard, because if it snows enough, school will be closed. And that is the most wonderful thing — ever — that can happen in the life of a child. Here's how it works in the land of the b-rrrrr.

A major storm usually starts late in the day and continues through the night, which means it is impossible to sleep if you are between the ages of six and 16. Visions of sugarplums my patoot: You're dreaming of two to three feet of the white stuff, not sugarplums. Nobody knows what a sugarplum is anyway.

When you wake up, you race to the window. If it's a two-inch fizzle, you go back to sleep, heart-broken. But if it's the two-foot mother lode that is the stuff from which dreams are made, you scramble across the bed and turn on the radio for the words that you live for: "Public schools in all five boroughs will be closed today, along with the following parochial schools…"

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