Keys Disease

Keys Disease
Battling Keys Disease at the Futura Yacht Club in Islamorada, Fla. three years ago.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Punxsutawney Phil: Giving Hope to the Hopeless

Watching the weather reports out of Chicago, I am certainly glad my trip to the Windy City for the auto show is next Tuesday, rather than yesterday. More than likely had it been yesterday, my flight from Atlanta to Chicago would have been canceled anyway. Because this is one of the rare trips when I am flying out of Greenville-Spartanburg instead of driving to Atlanta and beginning my trip there; getting back home may well have turned into an all-day effort.

Sitting on a runway at O'Hare for 36 hours or camping out in its terminal isn't my idea of fun. I am not disappointed that fate of timing spared me that potential consequence. Any time you are forced to fly in winter, you take the chance of being stranded somewhere. I recall flying from South Florida to El Paso several years ago to spend Christmas with my sister in Las Cruces, NM. My connecting flight out of Dallas was evidently under the command of Don Knotts. As the snow began piling up, we boarded the plane, sat on the plane and then got off the plane. The pilot didn't want to take off in the snow. Meanwhile, we could hear other boarding calls for flights at other gates and watched through the terminal windows as other flights took off. Did I mention it was Christmas Eve? I thought the pilot was going to be lynched right there in Terminal E of DFW. It was an ugly mob surrounding him as he tried to justify his decision. Passengers shouted insults and a guy next to me was making "chicken" noises. Finally the captain relented, we reboarded and the plane took off without incident. I'm not a big fan of flying in winter.

One might jump to the conclusion that the abnormal amount of cold and snow this season might be some sort of evidence that the global-warming hysteria is unfounded. I was reassured when I read on Al Gore's Web site that no, as all scientists agree, abnormally cold and snowy winters are a byproduct of global warming. Of course they are. Paraphrasing a Bill Clinton quip from last year, "Al Gore thinks spring is further proof of global warming." Indeed.

As for Greenville, the temps turned colder earlier this winter, but not outrageously so. We've had a little more snow than normal so far. I didn't move here until February 15th three years ago. Between that date and spring, we had a 4-inch snowfall. Obviously we can get more this year.

I was buoyed, however, to learn that Punxsutawney Phil failed to see his shadow today. That, of course, means an early spring. Is next week too much to hope for?

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