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In parts of Maine, when it snows any amount at all it ends up being way too much snow for some people and nowhere near enough snow for others.
All of Maine's 400 free and independent towns and cities - while going about their civic tasks in truly democratic spirit - budget a certain amount of money each year for snow removal and road-sanding. Some years the “white stuff” comes early and a town's snow budget can be pretty well shot by Christmas.
In those years you can be assured of seeing newspaper articles telling you about all the snow that's fallen recently - like you're an alien from outer-space and didn't know anything about it. These articles will tell you about all the overtime hours the snowplow operators are working, and town managers can always be counted on to say they don't know where they'll find the money to pay the drivers if the snowstorms continue at their current rate, which they always seem to do in those kind of years.
Even if there is money to pay the snowplow drivers, the town managers often add that they're running out of places to pile the snow, and if anyone has any suggestions on where to put it they'd like to hear them. I'm sure you can imagine some of the places suggested.
Before long, the newspapers will be running articles in which government officials and business leaders are quoted saying that one area or another in the state should be declared a disaster area and the federal government send piles of money to help clean up the snow and get residents back on their feet.
You've probably noticed that this is not exactly one of those years, yet. Even though we’ve had some school-closing storms, nobody - not even public officials with budgets - is complaining about all the snow.
In recent years, we’ve had winters where the weather pendulum swung sharply in the snow-challenged direction. In those seasons we look forward to hearing complaints and read newspaper articles about all the problems related to a lack of snow.
Different weather situation calls for a different cast of characters. In those snowless seasons we see reports on the 6 o'clock news about merchants in snow country complaining that business is down 50-, 60-, 70 percent. As the reporter drones on the camera shows us long lines of immobile snowmobiles and racks of unsold snow gear.
In those seasons we will hear officials say that Maine counties in snow country should be declared disaster areas because of a lack of snow this season.
I think Maine should just forget about the too much or too little snow and appeal instead to the feds for funds related to spring. Because no matter what the weather does we can always depend on mud season and - like always - it's going to be a disaster.
John McDonald is a humorist and storyteller who performs regularly throughout
New England. Contact John at or 899-1868.
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