Dear Ohio: A Word About Snow

Dear Ohio: A Word About Snow January 23, 2022


Dear Ohio:

We need to talk.

I know that you’ve got a bit of an identity crisis going on. I don’t blame you. I’ve lived here all my life and I understand it’s complicated. You are essentially three modern cities in a trench coat, and the trench coat is an endless expanse of agrarian nightmares straight out of a Faulkner novel. There is Cleveland, there is Cincinnati, there is Columbus, and there is Yoknapatawpha county. It’s difficult to remember where you are. I’ve been living in that paradox for decades.

But there is something you are going to have to face: Ohio is a NORTHERN state.

Yes, it’s true.

It’s hard to remember that Ohio is the north. We’ve got so many weirdos driving around in dented pickup trucks with Confederate flag bumper stickers. Of course, some of those people also have United States flag bumper stickers on the exact same truck. My neighbor down the street went even further; the entire back window of his pickup truck has a Confederate flag WITH the words of the United States Pledge of Allegiance superimposed on it, something I’ve never understood. But the fact is, Ohio is the north. We are a northern state.

Here, take a look of this map of the United States courtesy of Pixabay. I have taken the liberty of drawing part of the historic Mason Dixon line on it, because Pixabay didn’t have a public domain image of the Mason Dixon line:

See? You’re in the North. Ohio is a northern state. West Virginia is too, but that’s a lecture for another day. Ohio is definitely North.

And that means it snows in the winter.

Yes, it’s true.

Every single year in the past ten thousand or so, it has snowed at least once between December and March in Ohio. Snow is normal for us. It happens when it gets cold. It gets cold every year. None of these things is a rare event.

This means you’re supposed to plow the snow, and sprinkle salt on the road. They make trucks for that. You can buy one.

Yes, I went there.

Every single year since I’ve been old enough to know what snow was, I’ve watched as Ohio descends into absolute chaos as they’re struck by the total surprise of snow in January. It’s happening right now. I’m staring out my window at a couple inches of nice soft dusty accumulation, and the roads are impassable. Nobody’s plowing. Nobody’s salting. It’s just a big white slick, and it’s going to stay that way until it gets just over freezing. Then everything will melt and re-freeze and stay that way until April or so.

A municipal area in a northern state needs to have snow plows and salt trucks. You need to watch the news, which is available on television or the internet more than twice a day, and you need to wait for the weather report. You’ll know the weather report because there’s a big colorful map rear projected behind a meteorologist who is trying to be funny. When the weather report comes on, you need to watch the funny meteorologist use his magic powers to predict the weather, and if he says “snow” or “ice,” you need to get the trucks ready. When the snow starts to come down, hit the road.

I hope this clarifies things for you.

Now, about those Confederate bumper stickers…



Images of the United States and of the Cleveland lighthouse, which is definitely in Ohio, covered with ice, via Pixabay

Mary Pezzulo is the author of Meditations on the Way of the Cross and Stumbling into Grace: How We Meet God in Tiny Works of Mercy.
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