Welcome to 2014! However, I should warn you, it’s winter. That’s okay. Every year begins with a little winter. We’re going to get our fair share and then some in 2014, so I’d better clue you in on the things that really irritate me about winter. This is the list of things I have to deal with every year and so do you unless you have a four-month vacation scheduled to begin every New Year’s Day. Winter may be a bit of a burden for us, but it’s also a bit of fun for us. It depends on how you look at them. So let’s begin.

First of all, there is winter driving. Many folks like to whine about winter driving, but if you think about it, winter driving is simply driving very carefully. Yes, you have to pay attention and not do stupid things. That’s a lot to ask for some of you, but don’t panic, don’t fret, don’t scream. Go a little slower, turn more carefully, allow a little extra time, watch other drivers more closely, don’t try to drive if you can’t see out of the whole windshield. You know the drill. But some are scared to death to hit the highway until spring. I’ll tell you what, if you’re not comfortable with driving carefully, just stay home. We don’t need someone too afraid to exceed 15 mph on the roadways. In this latest storm it was a little nasty, so I was driving around 45 mph with a three semis behind me. We came upon a car who would not drive faster than 35 mph. I could have been irritated, but I figured I was safer if that driver was more comfortable. The trouble is, those three semis had to be in Columbus yesterday or something. One by one they passed us both on a two-lane road. Well, it was more like a lane and a half plus a half lane of snow, but they luckily made the pass. Again, you don’t have to pull over, but don’t be an idiot. It’s not just about you getting past me, it’s also about me still having breath in my body after you’ve made the pass.

There’s a good chance I’ll survive anyone’s winter driving, but there is a group of people around here that hates snow. And they are not afraid of letting everyone within earshot know they hate snow. Now, I can get Spring Fever as easily as anyone, but I don’t mind the snow. You see, I’m not sure if these people understand this part, but we get snow in this part of the country. Simply put, if you hate snow that much you shouldn’t live here. And don’t move farther north either. That won’t help. Think south. Think equator. Then you can complain about the heat. I can understand being tired of snow by March, but when the year is just a day or two old, don’t keep complaining about snow. It’s Ohio. It’s January. Go build a snowman and knock him over. That way you’ll get to beat up the snow.

While I’m thinking of it, there are certain people who don’t understand basic functional fashion. I’ll go strolling around town, get out of my car with my coat zipped tight to walk to a store when I see a person (usually male) who must have suffered severe issues as a kid. These folks are easy to pick out because in the midst of a snowstorm, they’ll be the ones wearing shorts. Yeah, shorts. Sometimes they will wear pants, but go without a coat. Apparently these people were kicked out of Minnesota for a lack of sense. I see these frozen folk in most every town around the region. And to each of them, I say, “Put some pants on!” I don’t like thinking that anyone is accidentally getting frostbite.

We still have nearly three months of winter left, so learn to like it. Put on a sweater. Keep some hot chocolate handy. Be careful outside as you drive and walk. Keep a good book on stand-by when you just aren’t ready to deal with the weather. We’ll make it just fine. And if you disagree with my words, feel free to write me and leave your address. I’ll be sure to stop by and lop some snowballs at your house.