6 inches of snow

Happy Valentine’s Day

Maybe you heard about the snowstorm we experienced two days ago. Down in Portland, precipitation fell as ice, up to a full inch! Fortunately for southwest Washington, we received more than six inches of snow and no ice as temperatures remained below freezing.

That much snow is rare in the Pacific Northwest valleys tucked in between the Cascades and the Coast Range. When any frozen precipitation occurs, the whole area virtually shuts down. That’s because Oregon and Washington have few snowplows and a fraction of the salt elsewhere in the country. Portland would rather use de-icer, accounting for stranded vehicles attempting to traverse hilly areas and increasingly vocal complaints from East Coasters.

So our snow was the most reported in over nine years. Tonight, the weather forecast suggests as temperatures begin to fall, we may get some ice, but nowhere what Portland received. In the week ahead, temperatures should rise and stay in the mid-40s with rain, allowing streets to fully recover in short order. Nevertheless, I felt obliged to shovel a path from my townhouse’s garage to access a navigable street a few feet away.

As I was midway in clearing a paved area where I could freely back out, a little girl, whom I will identify as Penelope, with resplendent red hair and an ear-to-ear smile asked if she could help. I noted she did not ask if I NEEDED help, she asked if she COULD.

Big difference.

I directed Penelope’s efforts, and 20 minutes later told her we were finished, she prepared to run off, yelling “Happy Valentine’s Day!”

No snow melted then, but my heart did. I gave her a five-spot, and told Penelope to share it with her brother.

Although taller than me, Alice happily rested her head on my bony shoulder.

This was my first Valentine’s Day without Alice supervising me, but I know she would be proud.

I think you will, too. From the Rose City (Portland) where my wife and I first moved, then discovering a modest Washington town 60 miles away where residents happily grow up with small-town values, Happy Valentine’s Day!

6 thoughts on “Happy Valentine’s Day”

  1. How marvelous Mason! What a treat to receive such a gift of kindness from this young citizen. A true gift of love and generosity all the way around. Hope you continue to stay safe this uncommon snow event. Here in Forest Grove, just 25 west of Portland, we got a mix of ice and snow, but mostly snow in the 5-6″ accumulation. I even got in some xc skiing in the nearby hills where my neighbor grows grass seed for the golf courses of America. That’s a lovely picture of you and Alice, her light continues to shine as I recall her warmth and loving countenance. She could make any day feel special.

    1. You never know who leaves a comment on this blog. The temperature here seems to have bottomed out at 34. Since the Columbia River runs due west from here, the increasing warmth from the Pacific Ocean is no longer eroded by the East side of Oregon. No ice here tonight; the snow is melting. By the way, I once saw Dr. John at Miami’s original Metrozoo on Key Biscayne, where he unleashed a blistering tirade at Miami-Dade County’s concert setup crew. And he was dressed in full concert regalia. What a guy!

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