For the last several weeks, our 16 year-old daughter’s hand-me-down Honda has been parked in the garage and I’ve been parking on the street.  Once I realized how much time it takes to scrape the ice off a car in the morning and how frosty windows can hamper your visibility, I was very willing to give her my parking place in the garage.

You see, she has had her driver’s license for about five minutes and the last thing I want her doing is dashing out the door at 6:30 am for her zero hour class, hopping in the car, and because she’s running late, not taking the time to thoroughly scrape the windshield, windows and mirrors so that she can see beyond the short hood of the Honda. It’s worrisome enough sending her out into the aggressive commute traffic with 2-ton pickup trucks bearing down on her 4 cylinder compact without the added concern that she’s trying to navigate by using eco-location like a bat.

The thought of sending her out on the road in the winter – although winter in California barely qualifies to even be called winter – makes me think back to when I was a teenager growing up in Utah.  How did my parents survive watching their five kids pull out of the driveway with six inches of snow on the ground? It’s hard enough having a new driver but a new driver in a blizzard? The thought sends shivers up my spine.

In spite of everyone’s complaints about how cold it has been, we really have it very easy here. Scraping some frost off of the windshield is nothing compared to having to shovel your car out of a snow bank before leaving for work. Boots in California are more of a fashion accessory than a necessity. Except for the unusually heavy rain, we can be sure that our tire treads are going to maintain contact with the asphalt.  Kids don’t have mittens to lose. And ever since I’ve lived in California, I’ve never once had to park my car at the bottom of the hill and walk home because it was snowing so hard that the roads were too slippery to make it up the hill.

The only time I have a twinge of missing the snow is when I talk to my sister in Salt Lake and she describes how it snowed the night before and all the trees are covered in a perfect blanket of white powder like a scene from a Christmas card. And then she tells me that when she gets off the phone she has to go out in sub-freezing temperatures and shovel her driveway. Once again, I’m grateful that it only snows every 50 years in Sonoma County.