When I moved back to the Beehive State from southern California a little more than a year ago, I fully expected to have a hard time adjusting to this white stuff that occasionally falls from the sky in Tooele County.
Except for one storm right around Christmastime that left me stuck in traffic on SR-36 (along with hundreds of other motorists) for what seemed like forever, the fears of winter never materialized.
And, honestly, I felt cheated.
For some twisted reason, I was disappointed that my newly-purchased ice scraper never made it out of the trunk of my car. Neither did the snow shovel — a tool that proved invaluable during four years of college in Cedar City.
The extent of my first Utah winter in eight years consisted of turning up the thermostat just a touch.
So, imagine my surprise when somewhere between Stansbury Park and the north end of Tooele, a typically dreary, gray autumn day turned into a winter wonderland.
It almost made me want to pull over and build a snowman right there by the side of the road. Visions of snow angels and snowball fights gone by came rushing back.
But then, I realized something: I’m 31 years old. Those things, while fun, have passed me by. Throw in the need to bundle myself up like Ralphie Parker’s little brother, Randy, from “A Christmas Story,” and the possibility of falling down in the snow and being unable to get up, made the decision easy: It’s time to be an adult.
But as I sat in the Transcript Bulletin’s Main Street office, looking across the street through the snowflakes at the post office and the orange barrels dotting the landscape in between, I couldn’t help but continue to reflect on those snowy days gone by.
Granted, I grew up in Moab, and snow isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of that part of the state. Indeed, the main memory I have of those southeastern Utah winters is of the bitter cold, where temperatures were in the teens as I waited for the school bus to take me a whopping five blocks to school.
But on the rare occasion that it actually snowed, it was the single most exciting thing for us as kids. Sure, it might take all the snow in your own yard, and your neighbor’s yard — and possibly the yard across the street — to arm oneself for a halfway-decent snowball fight. But for those 5-10 minutes that snowballs flew through the neighborhood, it was worth the effort.
Then came college, and a move to a place where winter is more than just a mere myth. We figured out that the trays from the Southern Utah University cafeteria were just perfect for sliding down the hill below the music building.
(They weren’t so good at stopping before reaching the railing next to the walkway leading to the library. But I digress.)
I will never forget waking up on the first day of spring break to the sound of a ringing phone, with the leader of our pending Alternative Spring Break trip to Mexico on the other end. Apparently, we’d gotten nearly a foot of snow overnight, and our trusty fleet of vans was stuck in the motor pool lot. After we dug our own cars out, a group of us went to work before the sun came up to get the vans rolling.
I don’t think I’ve ever been so glad to drive through Phoenix in my life.
But last week, my daydreams were interrupted by the news that people were getting stuck in the snow on the streets of Tooele. Being an industrious and helpful lot, the Transcript Bulletin newsroom decided to help out.
There was just one problem: my own car was stuck in the Transcript Bulletin parking lot.
As sports editor Tavin Stucki and editor Dave Bern went to work with the shovel to clear a path for me to get out, I did what anyone in their right mind would do.
I turned up the heat.
Vaughan is the Community News Editor for the Transcript Bulletin. He hopes the winter weather holds off long enough for him to spend Thanksgiving with family in Moab. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.