by Father Mark Goldasich
The Blizzard of Oz.
That’s what they’re calling this second major snowstorm aiming to hit Kansas City in a week. Yikes! So, I’m typing like a madman in an effort to get this column done before getting trapped in the Leaven office for a couple of days. I wouldn’t mind it so much, but my staff for some reason seems desperate for me to finish so they can leave. Go figure.
Anyway, take a gander at this little story:
Stumpy and his wife Margaret went to the Kansas State Fair every year. And, each year, without fail, Stumpy would say, “Margaret, I’d sure like to ride in that there airplane.”
Margaret would inevitably reply, “I know, Stumpy, but that airplane ride costs $10 . . . and $10 is $10.”
With a defeated sigh, Stumpy would move on. One year at the fair, though, Stumpy said, “Margaret, I’m now 81 years old. If I don’t ride that plane this year, I may never get another chance.”
Margaret replied, “You know that there airplane ride costs $10 . . . and $10 is $10.”
The pilot, overhearing the conversation, said to them, “Folks, I’ll make you a deal. I’ll take you both up for a ride. If you can stay quiet for the entire ride and not say one word, I won’t charge you. But if you say one word, it’ll cost you $10.”
Delightedly, Stumpy and Margaret go up in the plane. The pilot does all kinds of twists and turns, rolls and dives, but not a word is heard.
Finally, they land and the pilot turns to Stumpy and says, “By golly, I did everything I could think of to get you to yell out, but you didn’t!”
Stumpy replied, “Well, I was gonna say something when Margaret fell out of the plane . . . but $10 is $10!”
It all boils down to a matter of perspective, doesn’t it? Stumpy probably thought that poor Margaret would be pleased that: a) he actually listened to her all those years; and b) the plane ride was free, after all.
With the Blizzard of Oz, there can be a lot of fretting. People are wondering where to pile all the excess snow. Parents are scrambling to find babysitters for their kids who will be out of school. Archdiocesan events are being rescheduled. Folks are flocking to grocery stores to stock up on essentials. The snowstorm can be one huge — and potentially dangerous — nuisance.
But it all depends on your perspective. This past weekend, the eyes of my Mass servers were dancing at the prospect of having a day or two of school canceled this week. All those guys with plows attached to the front of their trucks didn’t seem all that broken up, either, by the prospect of more snow. Hardware store owners were practically giddy when being interviewed on TV before the storm, standing in front of shelves almost cleared of ice melt, shovels, scrapers and snow blowers. And the checkers in the grocery store might have been stressed — but the managers were grinning at all the overflowing carts.
Although the storm is causing The Leaven to move up its deadline, I look forward to the aftermath of this hectic day. Like the kids, I enjoy an occasional snow day. I’m beyond sledding or snowball fights, but the break in the schedule is welcome . . . as is the quiet outside. My oh-so-important-and-full schedule is tossed aside and there’s time to regroup, read, and maybe even take a nap.
It’s a reminder that ultimately I’m not in control of things — not of the weather certainly, but also not of my life. God is. These events of nature are a time to remember that and to shift our perspective when our plans are disrupted, to look for the positive in the inconvenience. If you have electricity and heat, a roof over your head and food in the refrigerator, then this isn’t such a bad deal at all.
And, trapped inside as I’ll be, means no fast-food run. Instead, that $10 will find its way into my CRS Rice Bowl. It isn’t all that much . . . but $10 is $10.