With the exception of the last word, edited to suit a family newspaper, that is the opening line of an article on the website “forever 51” on the day after a predicted “dusting” paralyzed the entire five-county area, The snow, that began around noon on Jan. 28, tied up traffic, stranded motorists and school kids, but was virtually gone in less than 60 hours.
However, the blowback from it was far from gone. We needed someone to blame for the travel problems. For eight days after the first flake fell, this paper was dominated by news stories, editorials, columns and letters, each seeking to point out why this person or that person was to blame for the traffic SNAFU.
In reality, some people got home late or spent the night at their place of work. Some stayed at businesses that opened their doors to stranded motorists, others in their automobiles. Some school children were late getting home. Others had an adventure spending the night at school, in what has been described by one as “the ultimate sleepover.” I don’t think any of them were traumatized by the experience. Although, I suspect, some of the parents may have been a bit edgy.
It was inconvenient to say the most, but the amount of press afforded it would make one think it was the Donner Party all over again. Except for one real-life tragedy, it was a two-day minor inconvenience occasioned by a slight snowfall.
In truth, nobody was to blame and everybody was to blame for the gigantic traffic snarl. We all heard the same weather forecast and knew what snow and ice does to our streets and roads. Parents are ultimately responsible for the safety of their children, so, if the superintendent did not close the schools, then remember you do not need his permission to declare a “snow day” for your children. Jobs are, of course, a different story, but we are still ultimately responsible for ourselves.
Sure the road crews could have been out earlier, schools and a lot of business could have been closed, but none of that would relieve us of individual responsibility.
A lot of people contributed to the tie-ups by getting on the roads after the news of the travel difficulty was broadcast. Throwing more cars on already choked roads was asinine, to say the least.
Apparently, there were three kinds of drivers out there that Tuesday. Northerners, with some inkling of how to drive on snow and ice were joined by Southerners without a clue. But the fools who THOUGHT they knew were the most dangerous. Nobody was, it seems, aware of the cardinal rule for driving on ice. DON’T.
So, we throw rocks at our elected officials. Some want nothing less than Gov. Deal’s head on a platter. Others want to tar and feather Cobb Commission Chairman Tim Lee, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and/or Cobb School Superintendent Michael Hinojosa.
Well, Deal has apologized, Reed has dodged, Lee has fantasized and Hinojosa has resigned. It is time to stop the finger pointing.
A young friend of mine remarked that it was a “Lost and Found” episode. We lost confidence in our public officials, but found new hope for man’s kindness to his brother.
Regarding the latter, there is much too little emphasis on the individual acts of human kindness all over the beloved South. There was abundant evidence of it, including a baby being delivered in a car stalled in traffic, a doctor walking 6 miles to perform life-saving surgery and ordinary people and businesses, including Chick-Fil-A, seeing to it that stranded motorists had some creature comforts.
In truth, it was followed by a beautiful weekend. The barbecues and the Super Bowl parties happened on schedule. That’s the way it is here in God’s country. We deal with adversity with a glass of wine, or sweet tea, in one hand and the remote in the other and we move on … or at least most of us do.
For, as my learned friend Steve Rhinehart pointed out, the whole incident was God’s wife, Mother Nature (a big fan of Al Roker), reminding us that we ain’t in charge.
Pete Borden is a retired masonry contractor in east Cobb.