Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Gotta be a pony somewhere in that drift

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I think most of us have heard the old story about the little kid who was given a huge pile of horse manure for his birthday.

An eternal optimist, instead of being disappointed, the little guy just clambered on top of the gooey pile and began frantically digging, scoop by scoop, with his bare hands.

His parents, who probably should have been reported to child-welfare authorities, were perplexed. "What do you think you're doing?" they demanded.

The boy, beaming with sheer delight, looked at them and chirped: "With this much manure, there has to be a pony in here somewhere!"

Well, that apocryphal tale pretty much sums up how I feel about the fact that, even though the calendar says it's spring, we remain buried under a huge (bad word) pile of snow thanks to the Winter That Wouldn't Die.

On the surface, it's -- pardon me for being blunt -- kind of crappy, but if you dig far enough beneath the frozen surface, you'll find a whole bunch of silver linings, such as...

1) For the foreseeable future, your tragic, ant-infested, weed-covered lawn, which has more bare patches than the Dalai Lama's head, looks just as pretty as all the manicured yards in your neighbourhood, the ones wherein teams of highly paid lawn professionals, manipulating their mowers like a precision drill team, carve stylish diamond-shaped patterns into the grass;

2) The temperature is still so far below normal that, when your dog goes outside to deposit a small gift on the trails you've carved out of the frozen snow in the backyard, it will be roughly the same size and consistency as a standard hockey puck, meaning you can grab your stick and fire it against the garage door of your next-door neighbour, the jerk who borrowed your new wheelbarrow two summers ago and conveniently forgot to return it;

3) Your out-of-town in-laws, the ones who hate you, the ones who spend every waking hour reminding your spouse that she and/or he could have married an astronaut and/or supermodel, are definitely not coming to visit you any time soon, because they are time-sharing a condo in Palm Springs with their other kid, the one who was smart enough to get engaged to a doctor;

4) When you're lying on the couch, snarfing salsa directly from the jar and watching the NHL playoffs on your big-screen TV, you will not have to worry that your spouse is going to march in and demand you get your butt outside and help with the yardwork;

5) As far as science can tell, it is biologically impossible for mosquitoes, even if they are the size of Labrador retrievers and covered in a thick coat of fur, to hatch under our current climatological conditions;

6) Those high-tech golf balls you got for Christmas, the ones that cost more than a European sports car, are still sitting safely in their box by the door as opposed to being lost in the woods due to the fact that you play golf the same way the North Koreans test missiles, in the sense that whenever you launch a ball into space, you have absolutely no idea where it's going to come down;

7) It gives you one more thing to complain about, which is nice, because that's how we roll in Winnipeg;

8) No matter how bad winter gets next year, it will seem like a short walk in the (insert another bad word here) park compared to this one. If that's not a reason to live, I don't know what is.

Anyway, I have a lot more silver linings to share with you, but sadly we are out of space for today. But that's OK, because I hear we are going to get even more snow. So grab your shovels, kids, and start digging.

Because you never know when you're going to find a pony!

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 15, 2013 A2

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