Yankees – or perhaps to be politically correct I should say people who have moved here from northern states – make fun of the way we deal with snow in the South. And perhaps rightly so.
At the first mention that there might be snow, people around here run to the grocery store and buy as much bread and milk as they can carry. Then if there are more than two flakes the schools close and a lot of people stay home from work because they don’t drive on white roads.
I don’t understand the bread and milk myself, but – since we get more ice than snow – staying off the roads does make sense.
But there are some things I don’t understand about men who have moved south from the frozen North.
It appears they love to shovel snow, and I don’t see the appeal. Golf is not my favorite game but I understand the attraction and even admit being hooked on the game for a while. But shoveling snow – where is the fun in that?
When those first flakes are falling, kids get their sleds out, hoping that enough snow will stick to give them a few runs down the hill before it turns to slush, and men from up north get out their trusty snow shovels, no doubt handed down to them by their fathers and grandfathers, and they stand by the front window hoping that enough snow will accumulate so they can at least go out and scrape the sidewalk clear, before all they have is a wet sidewalk.
If by chance we get an inch or more, they are in heaven and go out in the midst of the snow and shovel their walk and driveway. They put cardboard on their car’s windshield and pour down a ton of salt. Then they hurry back inside and wait to see if another inch will accumulate and they can do it all over again.
Most have learned after one winter that if they want to get out and shovel snow they have to be quick about it. It’s not one of those jobs on the “honey do” list that you can put off until tomorrow because, in the South, by the time tomorrow comes, nine times out of 10 the snow has magically disappeared, and sometimes you can go out and inspect the remains in a T-shirt and shorts because the temperature has suddenly risen to the 70s.
Ski resorts in the North Carolina mountains have done pretty well over the years, even though they have to make their own snow. And I wonder why they don’t put snow machines that will build up snow on sidewalks and driveways and charge men from the North a fee per hour to shovel. Those snow machines can put out some snow and men from the North could shovel to their hearts’ content and never have to worry about all the snow melting before they could get the sidewalk clear.
The resorts could build a little movie set village with fronts that looked like houses and garages. The Northern men could go out and clear what looks like a driveway up to a nice house, or a McMansion if that was their choice. They could choose to shovel the driveway in front of a one-car, two-car or three-car garage – whatever made them happy.
They could even have a black diamond shoveling course for the experts, where they had 100 yards of front sidewalk and a four-car garage that had to be cleared, all the while the snow machine could be pouring more snow on to what had just been shoveled.
Judging from what I see around town, this would be immensely popular. Men from the North who stand at their front windows praying that we get maybe 5 inches of snow and ice, something that will be a challenge, and are disappointed because by the time they get on their snow jackets, ski masks, gloves and snow boots all the snow has melted and the best they can do is scrape some slush off the sidewalk, could head up to the North Carolina mountains for a full weekend of snow shoveling.
After that they could stack their shovels at the door of a bar and sit around for the rest of the day drinking beer and talking about that shovel full that almost got away, or scraping the concrete for the first time or whatever people who love to shovel snow talk about.
Perhaps, after a couple of years, the snow shoveling resorts could have teams and contests pitting the best Beech Mountain snow shoveler against the best from Sugar Mountain. Maybe they could even import some snow shoveling experts from Chicago or Buffalo to see how well they adjust to shoveling artificial snow.
I think it’s an opportunity for North Carolina to increase its take of tourism dollars because there seems to be a real need for these men from the North, formerly called Yankees, to shovel snow, and they don’t get the chance very often here in North Carolina.
Imagine the snow shoveling withdrawal men from the North are going through when they move to Atlanta or Orlando. No doubt they would flock to the North Carolina mountains for the chance to shovel snow for a couple of days.
It’s something the North Carolina Tourism Board should really consider. Even here in Greensboro, the city could invest in some snow making machines, build a few sidewalks to nowhere (which the city is pretty good at) and, when we have a couple of cold nights, the city could make snow and let people shovel snow for a fee.
It’s hard to believe that here, at the very end of 2017, no one has jumped at this opportunity yet.