I’ve been around for a long time. I got my driver’s license in 1967 at the ripe old age of 16. As a matter of fact, I took driver’s education in January 1967 and as I recall we had plenty of snow that year. That was a good time of year to learn to drive because ice and snow weren’t obstacles to be dreaded, but they were more of a challenge to be overcome.
I’m no stranger to driving in the snow, I’ve done it now for 43 winters. For most of those winters I just got in my car and drove, not really thinking about the hazards that awaited me at every curve in the road.
I’m a cautious driver, I don’t do donuts, I know that when you come to a snow covered hill you need to get a running start and when you come down a hill you need to back off the gas and prepare for curves without standing on your brakes. I know how to rock a car to get it out of a snow drift, but this winter there seems to be a change taking place in my psyche.
When I fell twice last week just trying to get to my car so I could go to work, I chickened out and stayed home. When I did venture out the next day, the road conditions were even worse but I knew I could do it. After all, I’ve been driving in this stuff for 43 years. Well, I got stuck in snow at the end of my driveway and had to call for my son to come and pull me out. As I was slipping and sliding to work that day I had one of those “Aha” moments. Now I understand why people from Ohio and Michigan become “snow birds” and fly away to Florida as soon as the first flurries appear in the sky.
For years I thought all those folks were just wimping out. I thought they were just being big babies. After all, winter weather only lasts for a couple months. While all of this is true, what I failed to consider previously was that maybe those folks are just plain sick and tired of driving in the snow year after year.
It has taken me 43 winters to finally “get it.” To misquote Shakespeare, “Now is the winter of ‘my’ discontent.” I have finally had enough of driving in the ice and snow. As I near retirement age, the thought of just staying home on snowy days is looking mighty nice. But the thought of living in the Sunshine State from November to April is looking better all the time.
Well, maybe I could stay around here if I didn’t have to drive in the stuff everyday to get back and forth to work. Florida looks good, but retirement looks even better. I can only hope that the money I’ve paid into Social Security for all these years is there for me when I turn 62.