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Once upon a time, a very long time ago, there was a mythical kingdom full of wonderful warm-hearted people.

This mythical kingdom was located in The Frozen North and it was known by a great many names, but for the purpose of today's fairy tale let's call it... oh, I don't know... how about... Winnipeg!

For the better part of the year, the mythical kingdom of Winnipeg was covered in a deep layer of snow, in which the people, who were known as Winnipeggers, loved to frolic in a safe manner.

But the people of Winnipeg lived under a cruel curse -- every year, once winter, which lasted about 10 months, had ended, they would completely forget about the existence of snow!

Which meant that every winter -- and I do mean EVERY winter -- once fall had ended and the first snow fell on the kingdom, the forgetful people were terrified and amazed. Because of the curse, even though they lived in a Winter City, it was as if they had NEVER seen snow before in their lives.

And so, as the first flurries fell, the chilly citizens of Winnipeg would stand, confused and afraid, in their driveways and shake their fists at the heavens.

"Curse you, mysterious white powder!" they would shriek at the skies. "Look what you have done to my driveway. Also, my car looks like a giant wedding cake covered in white icing."

As the first snow fluttered down on their kind but forgetful heads, Winnipeggers would hop into their snow-covered vehicles and, as they did every year, wreak havoc. "I think the best thing to do would be to drive much faster than normal and then, at random intervals, slam on the brakes to dislodge this cold white stuff," is what the drivers thought to themselves. For the next few days, the roads of the kingdom were littered with dented cars and trucks and the cold air was filled with the frustrated cries of confused motorists. This happened even though the kingdom's weather wizards, known as Environment Canada, warned everyone snow was coming.

For example, the wizards' website pointed out today will be sunny and a frosty -13 C, well under the normal high of -3 C at this time of year in the kingdom. On Sunday, they predicted a 60 per cent chance of more snow and a high of -9 C, with the rest of the week colder than normal as well.

On the upside, even though they briefly forgot how to drive, Winnipeggers were not the sort of people to let snow and cold weather prevent them from getting outside and having fun. Tonight, for example, they are expected to visit Earls on Pembina for the first annual Purple Party in support of pancreatic cancer research and awareness. Tickets are $25. Check out pancreaticcancercanada.ca for details.

Other Winnipeggers planned to attend the Canadian Folk Music awards tonight at 8 p.m. at Pantages Theatre, while hordes of holiday shoppers are expected today and Sunday at the annual Signatures Craft Show and Sale at the Winnipeg Convention Centre.

Listen, I realize everyone reading today's column is an excellent driver, but we can all learn a lesson from the mythical people of Winnipeg: Let's clean off our cars and slow down a little bit.

Because when your home is a fairy-tale kingdom, you're supposed to live happily ever after.

doug.speirs@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 20, 2010 A2

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