My granddaughter is studying meteorology at school this year. Maybe that’s not a bad idea, since weather is becoming such a big deal in our lives. There was a time when it seemed the only people keeping an eye on the weather were farmers, sailors and a few brides who were planning outdoor weddings. Now look at what’s happened — we’re all watching it.
Remember the smirks and jokes about Al Gore’s global warming theory and his warnings about how our weather patterns would be changing? Well, they’ve changed, alright. It now gets scorching hot in places it’s usually cool, and vice versa. Some Florida friends told me that this winter they’ve even had days where they had to ditch their short pants in favor of long ones.
And what about tornadoes? You and I have known for years that they are supposed to occur only in Kansas. Every time we watched “The Wizard of Oz,” we saw Dorothy and Toto scurrying to the safety of their underground shelter, just the way all good Kansans did. Now those storms have begun to find other parts of our country where they can wreak havoc.
This winter has been especially aggravating. As one storm came through, another was following on its heels. Even on the fairly good days, the meteorologists kept warning us of some disturbance in San Francisco that was headed our way in a week or so. Give me a break — though I appreciate their alarm, I wish that at least they would let me enjoy an occasional sunny day before setting my teeth on edge about the next storm — which might or might not materialize, by the way.
Does anyone remember Don Kent? He was the gold standard of meteorologists here in New England for a very long time. He would stand there on the TV nightly newscast, and without too many props, tell us approximately when it was going to rain or snow. Although he could get excited about an occasional Northeaster, he kept his cool otherwise and just reported the weather situation as he saw it — no bells and whistles required.
Today’s weather forecasting is much more sophisticated. Thanks to technology, coverage is so in-depth that they may be telling us more than we need to know. I personally don’t want to spend a whole lot of time contemplating things like isobars and polar vortexes. I just want them to tell me whether snow or rain is coming and when, thank you.
You probably noticed that this winter they began giving scary names to snow events. While informing us that storms named Hercules or Maximus were heading straight for us might have gotten our attention, I’m not sure we needed to have the living daylights scared out of us.
Whenever we have a snowy winter like this one, I think of the November when I was a teenager and my father made his surprise announcement. He declared that due to the Farmer’s Almanac’s prognostication that it would be a snowy winter, we were moving into the city until spring. He simply was not going to break his back shoveling our long driveway another winter. The next thing I knew, he, my mother and I had moved into the Laton Hotel in downtown Nashua. It was an obvious choice since my mother was in charge of the kitchen there.
We soon settled into our new winter routine. Early on weekday mornings, my mother would begin work down in the kitchen and since the dining room didn’t open until noontime, my father and I would have our breakfast together in the lounge. He with his Boston newspaper and I with my last minute homework, would sit up at the bar facing all those rows of liquor bottles with flashing colored lights shining on them I found the whole scene pretty cool because what other kids in my class got to have breakfast in a bar?
Perhaps spring 2014 will bring me a much needed attitude change. Maybe I will stop complaining about our meteorologists and their bad news — especially if my granddaughter gets hooked on this field and becomes one of them. If she does, I can assure you that almost all of your days will be sunny and, when it does snow, it will never amount to more than an inch per storm. Grandmothers just know about stuff like this.
Joann Snow Duncanson, a former Peterborough resident now living in Greenland, is the author of “Who Gets the Yellow Bananas?,” co-author of “Breakfast in the Bathtub” and author of her latest book, “Eight Crayons - Poems and Stories by an Almost Sane Woman.” Reach her at www.jsnowduncanson. com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.