Snowy Returns

By Rev. Paul N. Papas II
1 February 2011


The snow we are having reminds of the snow storms we had several years ago where it seemed like every weekend we had and another big dump of snow. I remember it ruining a few weekend plans.

Investors like to know what their return of investment would be before putting their cash at risk. There are some who look forward to a few good snow storms. Just like in other areas one can have too much of a good thing.

The Ski business is dependant upon a good snow base and welcomes consecutive snow storms.

Contractors and anyone with a plow become very important people with big dumps of snow.

But whatever happened to the enterprising youth who used to go around and shovel other people’s walkways and driveways to earn some money?

There are people who get housebound because of multiple heavy snow storms. Sometimes when a person or group is isolated and/or shut in, in a small space, with nothing to do, for an extended period (as in a simple country vacation cottage during a long rain or snow) they become restless, irritable, show irrational frustration with everyday objects, forgetfulness, laughter, excessive sleeping, distrust of anyone they are with, and have an urge to go outside even in the rain, snow or dark.

This would be a good time to check on your neighbors to see if they need anything, make sure they are alright and that their heat and lights are working.

Just as the Blizzard of 1978 was starting I remember having the feeling that this was no ordinary snow storm and headed home early from work. It was not long after I arrived home I saw the weather men agreeing with me. Because there wasn’t any real warning the food stores did not have a run on them before the storm. When the snow finally stopped the governor came on TV and asked everyone to stay home and then called out the National Guard.
We did not have all the gadgets that we do today, including computers in most every home, so we had more personal interaction. This was a time when neighbors looked out for their neighbors and people generally came together. In fact there was a decided increase in babies being born about nine months after the blizzard.

Because the governor called out the National Guard I packed my field gear and uniforms in my duffle bag and walked three towns over to the nearest National Guard Armory, which has since closed. There were people walking and playing in the snow and their mood was almost festive.

Not all the news was good as some people stuck on Route 128 had left their cars running with the windows closed and died because their car’s exhaust had filled their car. Some people in coastal towns had their homes destroyed by the storm. We walked on what we thought was solid gravel, but it gave way. We discovered that we were on the roof of a buried car; fortunately no one was in it.

I was happy to see neighbors helping neighbors and total strangers for no other reason but that they needed some assistance. I witness this same spirit of cooperation in Mississippi as a Katrina volunteer.

Yes, sometimes we can loose sight of what is really important until something like a Blizzard or Hurricane hits to bring people together.

You’ll always have people who will try to take advantage of people in good weather or bad, but the few rotten apples don’t have to spoil the whole bunch.

Maybe there is a good return from Blizzards or Hurricanes and that is people come together and help those in need even if they had not found the time before.

My hope is that we won’t need a Blizzard or Hurricane to come together and be friendly and helpful to those in need. The returns you receive by being friendly and helpful can not be measured in dollars and cents. It’s time to pick up a shovel and dive right in.
Rev. Paul N. Papas II, is a pastoral Counselor with Narrow Path Ministries of Massachusetts and Arizona and Founder of the Family Renewal Center and


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