“When I say six weeks, I mean six weeks!” - Paunxsutawney Phil.

Alright, so the above quote was made up. Forgive me. But if the legend of the groundhog is true and the furry varmints could speak, that’s what Phil would have said. Trust me.

The fact is, the first day of spring does not come until March 20. That means that it is still winter. That’s right, it’s still winter. So if you are complaining to me about the snow, I will promptly answer you by reminding you that it is still winter for nearly another week yet, and winter in this part of the country means snow!

It’s understandable that there were so many broken hearts Wednesday morning. If you were up early enough, you watched the rain fall and the thermometer fall. If you drove to work as the sleet and ice turned to snow, you watches the other vehicles spin and dance. And if you got up late in the morning to see snow and whiteout conditions in places, you may have just crawled back in bed and waited for March 20. It was a rough time for getting anywhere, but even rougher since it was just a day after the warmth of Monday and Tuesday. Half the county was pulling out Hawaiian shirts and Beach Boys records at the beginning of the week. On Wednesday there were funeral dirges and Christmas tunes filling the air. Yeah, it was tough. Still is.

It is also tough on the schools. Oh, the kids will be alright, but the administration, staff, and board members have to be pulling their collective hair out trying to figure out how many days of school they have to make up, not to mention which days those days will be. I do know that Crestview approved a restructured school calendar for the current school year Monday night. Then, less than 36 hours later, classes were called off and another day will need to be made up. The district in which my wife teaches still hasn’t made public when classes will be held the rest of the school year and when they won’t. It’s to the point where she can’t make plans for her summer job or extra activities, and don’t even ask me about taking a summer vacation this year. Hope it eventually warms up!

I suppose the week’s snowstorm was cause for celebration for some folks: snowplow service operators, cross-country skiers, auto-body repair shops, slush-lovers, people who believe everyday should be like Christmas, and… well, that’s all I can think of offhand. Most of us are mentally done with snow for the season. Personally I like snow, but we’re 72 inches — six feet — of snow into winter, and enough is enough. Except for that calendar on the wall which tells us that spring is just under one week away. Until then, it’s still winter.

Now I realize that snow often creeps out of its appointed season on a semi-regular basis. Winter doesn’t begin until December 21, and there have been plenty of times I have been shoveling snow on my early-December birthday. I remember, over the years, several April storms and more than one White Easter. So I’m pretending that it can’t stop snowing until March 20, I’m just reminding us all that just because we have this insatiable desire to runaround in shorts and flip-flops, you can’t count on anything. The other part of all that is that even though the end of March will be officially spring, snow isn’t out of the question. In fact when I talked to EMA Director Rick McCoy this week, he was in no mood to predict the end of snowstorms for this winter. He said the weather will run hot and cold — Really nice to ridiculously snowy and cold. This shouldn’t surprise anyone who has lived in this part of the world for more than a week.

But we must all be prepared. Carry a pair of sunscreen-lined gloves or a ski mask with shaded lenses over the eyes for the next few weeks. And next February 2, pay close attention to the groundhog. It’s obvious he means what he says!