For most of my life, I have not been a fan of winter. Each fall when the temperature dips below–let’s say 50 degrees–that’s my signal that only indoor activities will be on my agenda until spring. I don’t like to be cold. I don’t like to wear a coat. Hats mess up my hair. I don’t like trudging around in the melty-mess. You get the point.
Some of my attitude problem towards winter was born during my career in TV news. Blizzard conditions with two feet of snow? “Be careful driving in,” the boss would say. Or maybe: “We’ll send a four-wheel drive vehicle out to pick you up.” While my family and friends stayed cozy and warm at home, I was standing on the side of a highway warning viewers not to venture out because the roads were too treacherous. Oh, the irony!
But over the holidays, I had a change of heart. My husband’s son and daughter brought their families to visit us from California and when they arrived, we still had about 6 inches of snow on the ground. The two youngest grandsons, 5-year old Kirin and 3-year old Rez, had never seen snow!
They were delighted to stomp around in it and lay down to make snow angels. They squealed with delight when they hit “Pop-pop” (my husband, Tom) with snowballs, and worked with Gusto to help build not one, but two snowmen in the backyard. The sparkling snow made our visit to the Toledo Zoo’s “Lights before Christmas” even more enchanting. And a funny thing happened while we were making all those new memories: I rediscovered the magic of winter.
The nostalgia came in a flood: The snow ice cream my mom made when I was six, getting a whole week off school during the Blizzard of ’78, and taking ski trips with my high school friends. Two days of no classes, playing cards, and eating junk food with my roommates when two feet of snow fell our senior year of college.
I remembered visiting a friend in New York City when the Blizzard of ’96 hit and getting a call to get down to CBS headquarters to do a live shot for WTOL. My friend and I walked blocks and blocks down the deserted, snow-covered streets of Manhattan (I mean we literally walked down the middle of the streets–when else would you ever get that opportunity?), making it to CBS headquarters just in the nick of time to do my live report for Toledo.
Enjoying the lights at the Toledo Zoo with family.
Now that I have retired from TV news, I can appreciate a little snow now and then. I don’t usually have to drive in it anymore, I watch the TV news reporters on the side of the road from the comfort of my living room, and my husband handles the shoveling.
This holiday season, seeing snow through the eyes of a child was one of the most wonderful gifts I received. I still won’t wear a hat, but I do have a cute pair of snow boots, so don’t be surprised if you see me in the neighborhood sledding down a hill the next time we get a good blanket of snow!
For 20 years, Chrys Peterson was the face of WTOL news, anchoring the 5, 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts. She is now a correspondent and columnist for ProMedica HealthConnect.