The Editor’s Desk: When snow was just snow

When did something as ordinary as weather become an event?

Language is always evolving, as we come up with new words to describe new things, and old words take on new meaning to cope with our changed world. I’m usually able to take this in stride, but a new construction that has crept into the language is the use of “event” as a qualifier for rain, snow, and floods, and it’s taking some getting used to.

It’s not so long ago that we used to just get rain or snow, and it strikes me that that was perfectly fine; you knew exactly where you stood. But now we don’t just get rain; we get rain events, as described on the highway signs dotting the region warning drivers about what not to do (stop) in case of a downpour.

Now I don’t know about you, but if I see something described as an “event” I expect more than just Mother Nature doing her thing; I envision crowds, entertainment, speakers, and a concession at the very least. As I drove into Kamloops last week and passed one of the rain event signs, I began wondering what one of these weather events would look like if it conformed more to my idea of what an event should be.

“Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome to today’s snowfall event! It seems like only yesterday that we were here for the last snowfall event; probably because it was only yesterday, when we saw nearly 10 centimetres — that’s four inches for those of you who are old-school — of the white stuff. By the way, congratulations to Mike Phillips, who was closest in guessing the actual snowfall amount of 9.7 centimetres in our regular contest. Mike, your prize of an ergonomic snow shovel is waiting for you at Home Hardware.

“Speaking of snow shovels, there’s been a change to the program, since the Silver Shovels team can’t be with us today due to some of the members suffering from minor frostbite after a display in Valemount over the weekend. However, I’m pleased to say that the Southern League of Independent Ploughs Society BLADES team is here for an exciting display of precision snowploughing, which will take place at the far end of Railway Avenue at 11 a.m.

“We have some great speakers lined up for you today. At 10 a.m. Melissa Porter will be taking you through some dos and don’ts when it comes to proper snow-shovelling techniques; be sure not to miss her warm-up tips to help you prevent injury. For those of you want to avoid snow-shovelling, at 1 p.m. Dave Miller will be continuing his informative series about the best excuses to help you get out of having to shovel your driveway. Today he’ll be focusing on the tried and tested ‘bad back’ excuse, including the best ways to fake a back injury that keeps you out of the snow but doesn’t prevent you from enjoying other activities.

“He’ll be followed by a panel discussion about the pros and cons of gloves vs. mittens, and you’re invited to chime in with your thoughts on this always heated — no pun intended — debate. Our resident style guru Jen Foster will be demonstrating some accessorizing tips to help you take your tuque to the next level, and you won’t want to miss it; her ‘From White to WOW!’ session yesterday about kicking your snowmen and -women up a notch was a huge hit with young and old alike.

“Don’t forget about the wonderful concessions, including Super Spuds baked potatoes, who are back by popular demand, and a newcomer to our snowfall events: Heritage Hot Chocolate, all the way from 108 Mile. Their products are made with whole milk and real whipped cream, and check out some of their flavours, including salted caramel, chili pepper, and French vanilla.

“I see by the way everyone is stomping their feet to keep warm that you’re about ready to get started, so I’m going to invite Margaret up here to lead us all in the singing of ‘Let it Snow’. Enjoy today’s snowfall event, and get ready to do it all again at the end of the week, if Environment Canada has their forecast right!”

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