Jewish World Review Dec. 23, 2002 / 18 Teves, 5763

Greg Crosby

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Winter comes to paradise | With a major cold rain blowing in last week, winter has come to southern California at last. As I write this in the comfort of my study at home in the San Fernando Valley it's downright chilly outside, and some weather forecasters are even saying if the icy temps hold and we get the additional rain that is expected tomorrow, there's a chance that rain might actually turn to snow. Snow! A snowy holiday season for Los Angeles would really be something.

It doesn't snow much here in paradise -- we get a dusting about once every fifty years or so, like clockwork. I remember we did have some freezing hail around twenty-five years ago. Watching the little ice balls bouncing on the front lawn and off the hoods of the parked cars was a hoot. My wife and I got so excited we made a nice cozy fire in the living room. You know how excited we must have been, because we didn't have a fireplace in the living room.

The last really big snowfall in the Los Angeles area came at the time of my birth, but it wasn't my fault, honest. It will be fifty-four years ago next month, January 1949, since the big winter snow. At the time it made front page news. They closed the public schools so that the LA kids could go out and play in the stuff, making snowmen, throwing snowballs and whatever else kids do in snow. It gave the poor southern California children a chance to experience what kids in the east get every winter.

Orange trees froze and traffic accidents rose. You know how bad LA drivers are when a bit of rain hits the highways? -- you can imagine what must have transpired on the streets when it snowed that year. But what did I care? I didn't care about much of anything -- except getting fed and cuddled by my mommy.

So maybe another miracle will happen and it will snow again in La-La land tomorrow. Don't laugh. Crazier things than that have happened here. Like the movie business. And the freeway system. And political statements from Barbra Streisand. I think a little snow every fifty or so years is a good thing for the soul of this town. It shows us that we're not so special after all -- we can get snowed on just like the rest of country.

I, for one, am hoping for snow. And not just because it reminds me of my birth, although that's a pretty good reason, come to think of it. No, I'm hoping for snow because it's REAL weather. I like all things real. Real people, real food, real sentiment, real gratitude, real love. And real weather -- not "climate." I've lived in Los Angeles all my life and I'm sick of "climate." 77 degrees and not a cloud in the sky actually depresses me. So a nice, healthy snowfall will do me a world of good.

People say Los Angeles has everything, but those people are dead wrong. We don't have a change of season. A change of season is a good thing -- it puts us in touch with nature on a first name basis. It gives us some different colors to look at and it gives us a chance to wear different clothing. In short, it breaks up the monotony of life in paradise. That's why I want it to snow this week.

It wouldn't surprise me to find out that once upon a time, a long time ago, it used to snow every winter in LA -- but then the movie industry lobbied Sacramento (and maybe Washington) and got a law passed against. it. Yep, they made snow illegal west of the Sierras. And now, just like smoking, snowing has become politically incorrect in this town. Unless, of course, it's in a movie -- but then you can make it yourself, or simply shoot in Canada. That's show biz.

Yes, a snowy holiday season for Los Angeles would really be something. Although it probably wouldn't be politically correct, it certainly would be a beautiful sight to see.

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JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. A freelance writer in Southern California, you may contact him by clicking here.

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© 2001 Greg Crosby