Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — For many years, the Western New York area has been called the “Snow Capital of The United States.” We got that rep in 1977, when rotten kids like me were able to climb snow banks so high we could literally stand over stop signs on our street.
It was the first, and only, time my friends and I were able to play street hockey with full body checking because we actually had boards we could check each other into. That was also when we learned just how sharp ice can really be when it is chewed up by plows and hidden in the snow banks along the road.
Long before the Blizzard of ‘77 ripped through Western New York, man had spent centuries developing better and better methods of transportation. He had devised planes, trains and buses to carry people in large numbers from one spot to another, and he also created trucks and cargo planes to allow people to pack up their household possessions and move them from one spot to another. If you didn’t want to live in a particular part of the country, you could rent a big truck and move somewhere else.
Since 1977, transportation technology has significantly improved and become affordable to everyone.
After the Blizzard of ‘77, a lot of people decided to use that transportation technology to move someplace where there would not be the threat of a crippling blizzard. Those of us who like the snow, and don’t mind the occasional blizzard, stayed behind.
The reputation of Western New York’s snowfall spread far and wide until it was known all over the world that, if you live here, you will deal with snow five to six months out of the year.
Some of us would gladly put up with a nasty blizzard every few years rather than deal with mudslides, earthquakes, smog, serial killers, tsunamis, oppressive heat 365 days a year, alligators, an outrageous cost of living, huge bugs carrying disease and the threat of a Mexican gang war spilling over the border into our neighborhoods.
Many of us know that it will snow in November and we know what that snow brings. We stay here because we want to. I could never afford to buy a house in California and I do pretty well. But I have no problem affording my lovely little home in Lockport, N.Y.
Every year, just like clockwork, the snow falls and those who feel “trapped” in Western New York complain about it. “I hate snow!” or “Is it really that time of year?” are two of the more common complaints from natives. Then there are people who moved here from warm weather climates only to complain that it snows.
Listen, we put the part about snowing in the brochure. It isn’t our fault that you didn’t read it. If you don’t like the snow, then move. If you stay because you love the low cost of living, then you should be thankful for snow, because it is the reason everything is so cheap around here. You cannot have it both ways.
As for the people who moved away to warmer climes, congrats. You took advantage of the innovations in transportation, good for you. Those of us who like it here are not jealous that it is 80 degrees where you are in winter. If we were jealous, we would be where you are.
While you are running from mudslides as earthquakes crack the roads and serial killers chase you down the street with huge bugs trying to give you malaria as alligators try to bite your leg off in the middle of a Mexican gang war, we will just shovel this snow off our porches.
Anyone who judges a region by its temperature misses out on how awesome the people, customs and low crime rates are in those regions. I will admit that I am pretty sick of snow by February. But I know it is coming, every year, and I don’t act like I’m blindsided by it.
No, Western New York expatriates, I really don’t care that it is 80 degrees in Florida this morning. You better keep your screen doors closed because you never know when the next mosquito outbreak will hit.
It snows in Western New York. Real Western New Yorkers welcome it. Everyone else can rent a truck.
George N. Root III is a proud Western New Yorker who is ready to shovel snow. His column is published every Wednesday, even when it snows. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, and he really doesn’t care what the temperature is where you are.George N. Root III is a proud Western New Yorker who is ready to shovel snow. His column is published every Wednesday, even when it snows. He can be reached at email@example.com, and he really doesn't care what the temperature is where you are.