News Columns & Blogs

No need for snow blowers in sunny, mild Bradenton

Had life been different, no doubt it would have been wonderful to live in New York City.

It would have been nice to have immediate access to Broadway shows, the Statue of Liberty, skyscrapers, museums, Central Park, the Yankees and the Mets.

Similarly, we could have been in happy in Des Moines.

Or Erie, Pa.

Or Atlanta.

Very different cities, yes, but they all have plenty for their Chambers of Commerce to brag about. Just ask them.

And they all have one big thing in common -- cold weather.

This week, watching the snow plows and the snow blowers in action up north, and the agony of passengers in airport terminals around the country, it was enough to make Bradenton residents happy to live in Bradenton, no matter what our other problems might be.

We might have gang warfare, high unemployment, crazed drivers, and more. We surely do.

But at least we don’t have blizzards.

Many children who were born here have never seen real snow.

They don’t know how it can turn dirty and gritty, how it can contribute to depression, rusting of automobiles, and an inability to get to the corner store, much less to school or work.

Warm-weather kids may be unaware that shorts, T-shirts and flip-flops aren’t worn year-round in many places.

There was one day that an ice storm in the metro Atlanta area was blamed for causing 1,000 traffic crashes.

My sister Sandi, who lives near Atlanta, e-mailed a photo of her family standing outside their home in the falling snow. Pretty, postcard picture, but I know how steep the climb is up the hill to her house. When there’s ice on that road, there’s no coming or going to her house.

Skating is fun on a rink, not in an SUV or minivan on an icy highway.

In Bradenton, our motto might be: “No snow blower? No problem.”

Our mayors and public works directors have their share of problems, but at least they don’t have to take calls at home from citizens who can’t get out of the door because of snow drifts.

We are blessed because of what real estate agents call location, location, location.

It’s what makes us so attractive to snowbirds. The mild weather and the Gulf beaches.

Even after a couple of record-setting cold nights, a drive around East Manatee last week had me thinking one word. Halcyon. As in calm, peaceful, weather.

The warm sun filtering through the canopy oaks on Zipper Road, the sandhill cranes crossing Lorraine Road, and the tranquility of the veterans memorial at San Marco Plaza.

With that peaceful thought in mind, we wish you a very happy new year.

James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee Editor, can be contacted at 745-7021.