The Best of Andy Rooney
Nothing reduces the whole world to the same level like snow. We're getting heavy snow in the Northeast these days and I love it. The day I'm writing this column it's snowing heavily outside. I don't know why, but we call both a lot of rain and a lot of snow "heavy," even though snow is sometimes fluffy and doesn't seem heavy, like rain.
Over the years, I can't think of anything that has provided more people with more fun than a good snowstorm. I think too much snow is as good as it gets. A heavy snow interrupts the normal course of our lives like nothing else.
I will always remember when it snowed on our street while I was growing up in Albany, N.Y. My friends Alfy Gordon, Bobby Reidy, Jackie Kirchner and I went from door to door offering to shovel the sidewalk for 35 cents a house. We didn't like when we rang Mrs. Potter bell because when we came to the door after we finished shoveling and asked for our 35 cents, she always came out to inspect what we'd done. If she wasn't satisfied, she made us go back at it before she'd pay us. The fact that she was right didn't enter our minds.
Another family in the neighborhood, the McAuliffes, who lived on the corner, had the longest sidewalk because it ran along two sides of their house, and we got 50 cents for shoveling.
Whether you like snow or not depends a lot on what you do with it -- or in it. I didn't really learn how to ski until I was in college, but I had fun making snowmen and sleigh-riding years before I learned to ski.
There was a short hill in front of our house and we'd make balls of snow and roll them down the hill to make them bigger. We made snowmen and forts with the big snowballs. The dangerous thing we did was make snow houses and get inside them. We'd make a huge pile of snow and hollow it out. It was dangerous because you never knew when the whole thing would collapse. Eskimos do a much better job with their igloos.
I think we're way behind the rest of the world where skiing is concerned. People in Scandinavian countries were going everywhere on skis for centuries while Americans were still plodding through the snow in boots. When I was in school, about five of us went from Albany to Lake Placid to ski, and it was a great experience. I was never a great skier, but I would like to try it again just to see if I've gotten better.
The skis we had as kids were just big, long boards with straps to hold them on our feet. They bore little resemblance to modern skis. Skis today are carefully shaped with long, thin surfaces that glide over the snow. You can turn them very easily because their sharp edges dig into the snow.
Skiing isn't like anything else. It isn't like walking, running, or skating, and you get the feeling that movement is free of effort. We all like doing things we're good at, and I don't know of anything I'm only fair at that I enjoy more than skiing.
I still have the old wooden skis I used as a kid. I'll probably never use them again but I'll never throw them out. I might try them on and see if I can glide down the street to work tomorrow. There's been so much snow in New York lately, I may need them to get home.
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Humor & Funny Stories - It's Snowing Again! | Andy Rooney
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