One of the exciting things about Hesperia is the chance of occasional snow. When the first members of my family to settle in Hesperia lived on Mesquite, as soon as the snow powered Mt. Wilson, my granddaughters begged me to take them to visit "just in case Uncle Herb and Aunt Rita might have snow in their backyard again". It was delightful in 2004 when the first dinner guests at my new Hesperia digs got to work off Thanksgiving calories by throwing snowballs. But that snow storm came on so suddenly I had not prepared for it. Thanks to our sunshine, the hammer, wire brush, paint brush and drapery rod I had been working on dried out and nothing was damaged. I put it all away after the thaw.


With 2009 ending with the prospect of snow before Christmas, the repairman who came to replace a defective part in my refrigerator thought I was being sarcastic when I told him he was lucky to get here before the snows arrived. He returned with the cynicism, "Well if it's going to snow, you won't need a refrigerator." He can be forgiven. He didn't know about weather conditions on the High Desert. Snow for the Holidays reminded me of the time one of our family members was stranded at El Mirage and almost missed our Christmas get-to-gather. Cross-country diving is a greater challenge when creosote bushes, rocks, ravines and landmarks are buried under a blanket of white. It's a little more dangerous than hiding paint brushes and hammers.


It's also an adventure to drive on desert highways during one of those sudden storms. One winter in the late 80s, I missed a day of work when I was returned to Las Vegas because Mountain Pass was closed. When I got through MP the next morning, I worried as I drove through the desert that Cajon Pass might be closed when I reached it and I would be faced with finding lodging another night. Cajon was open and my photos of the CHP turning back motorists in Nevada was available in case my employer thought I was just taking the day off work to play. I was playing. I just hadn't planned on playing.


I learned to love snow growing up in Chicago, but that was before we knew about wind-chill factors. For kids, winter weather meant ice skating on the make-shift rink in the backyard flooded as soon as the ground froze, riding sleds down the railroad embankment and hoping the schools would run out of coal for the furnaces and might have to close. It's best when the snow has freshly fallen as the snow, like politics in Chicago gets dirty really fast.


My parents brought their family to Upland on a day when we found the mountains were crowned with the inviting white stuff while temperatures in town were in the 80s. That was different! Dad said he preferred the snow where he could see it without getting orders to go out in the cold and shovel it off the sidewalks. They get snow once in a while Down the Hill. In 1933 it snowed in the foothill communities south of the San Gabriel and San Antonio Mountains, but even I am not old enough to have been there to see it for myself. The closest I remember is an occasional thunderstorm with hailstones. That anomaly was so rare that we took pictures to substantiate our claim. I think I have two.


Folks can get a little slack when Jack Frost comes to town even when you aren't sent back to Las Vegas. That privilege is not shared by warm winter residents. There are many disadvantages to living in mild climates. You have to mow the lawn fifty-two times each year. You are expected to pull weeds and wash windows year round; and can never use a frozen battery as an excuse to be late for work. You also get as many drop-in guests during the winter as the summer so you had better be ready for that and always have the dishes washed and the bed made. It's a lot of extra work and nobody thinks that is exciting.