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January 12, 2011

Snow, Part 6913

by Rev. A. J. Iovine

It was sort of heart warming this morning to watch the sun straining to peek through the last remaining snow storm clouds that were racing north eastward. After dropping 6 inches or more of snow on us last night, the clouds were racing towards Boston. I hope the Bostonians like their blizzard. We, on the other hand, received a nice blanket of snow, one that TV weather people warned us about for several days. After the December 26, 2010 blizzard, a storm local weather forecasters ignored until the very last moment, this time they were on the ball dropping warnings about snow totals and getting stuck in the house. Supermarkets were packed for days as shelves were emptied of bread, milk, and canned soup. A woman I know from a local bank said that they had to put more money into the ATM because people kept coming by to get cash. And children were dancing home on Tuesday as teachers and administrators were singing from the same song book that schools would be closed on Wednesday as this “monster” storm was going to lock us up for days.

After hearing that New York City could get anywhere between 6 and 8 inches of snow, Mayor Michael Bloomberg went into action, declaring a snow emergency. He set up teams of Public Works spies who would keep an eye on Sanitation workers charged with cleaning the streets. No more eating doughnuts for hours as streets remain unplowed, as they did during the December blizzard – the snow spies and newly installed GPS equipment on plows would make sure workers were working.  Cars parked on the sides of major roadways were towed. Police officers and first responders were at the call just in case important 911 calls came in.

Here in northern New Jersey, crews were plowing all night. As of 4am, streets near Company 1 on Center street were drivable. Our own church parking lot was already plowed before the snow ended. While not pristine, driving conditions, I’m told, are pretty good considering the hype the weather people were giving this storm. I mean, these weather people were talking about how bad everything was going to be … and we got about 8 to 10 inches.

So, once again, I sing the praises of – they were talking about this storm for about a week; they said it was coming, but explained it was going to be a normal snow storm. It wasn’t going to be a blizzard; just some snow. Life would go on; no need to bunker down for the winter.

Our local politicians and weather people overreacted with this storm. They were caught off guard on the blizzard – but it was Christmas time, and they, like most of us, were more worried about Christmas presents, Christmas Eve dinner, and watching some basketball or football on the tube. But warned about the storm for a week – so when it hit on the day after Christmas, I wasn’t too surprised. I knew enough that a blizzard would make traveling impossible; so I stayed home. I watched those people stuck on the New Jersey Turnpike for 12 hours trying to get up the hill to the George Washington Bridge; they missed the memo.

And during the past couple of days as the storm was preparing to hit us, I drove past supermarkets here in New Milford, Dumont, and Lodi and watched as people were fighting for parking spaces. I kept on driving since I knew this would be just a normal northern New Jersey snow event. Supermarkets would be open come Wednesday morning. Streets would be passable. Life would be normal. Yet it is cold, bone-chilling cold as the latest snow blanket promises to keep temperatures a few degrees chiller than normal as air temperatures struggle to get 30. Yet I smiled this morning as I opened the church for Morning Prayer.

Yes, I smiled because if everyone here at Saint Matthew’s had listened to me last winter, we’d all be at Morning Prayer on some beach in Florida (or another warm weather climate), getting ready for another day of proclaiming the Gospel to those sunning themselves. We wouldn’t be tired from shoveling or nervous about getting behind the wheel of the car. We wouldn’t have to listen to weather people on TV give us grave warnings of what 6 inches of snow could do to us. No, if we only listened to me last winter, right now we’d all be in shorts walking along the beach singing “A Mighty Fortress” watching sea gulls dive into the sea for their morning breakfast.

Remember – you laughed at my suggestion to convert Saint Matthew’s into the very first “Snowbird Church.”

Our motto was going to be “Saint Matthew’s Lutheran Church – Florida Branch: Sand, Sun Tan Lotion, Jesus … and leave the shovel at home!”

But no, we stuck around this January. And now, for the third time in three weeks, a snow storm whacked us.


Read more from Saint Matthew's, Weather

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