, Newburyport, MA


January 16, 2014

Winter in New England, 21st century

To the editor:

We’ve all heard the stories of how our forebears had to walk 4 miles through the snow to school each day, usually uphill both ways. Well, that was back before all the modern conveniences we now enjoy in our little corner of heaven known as New England.

But maybe it was better the old way. Take sidewalks. Now those trips back and forth to school were through snow hip deep on rutted wagon tracks. Today, we have sidewalks! Unfortunately, here in Merrimac if you had to walk to the library this winter, you’d still have to walk through hip-deep snow, but it would be uphill only one way. ‘Cause it seems the 1,000 or so feet of brand-new sidewalk on West Main Street from Currier Avenue to the library has been under deep snow for quite a while. So instead of rutted wagon tracks, you can walk on a modern highway and dodge cars and trucks.

But that’s not the only way things have changed. Remember when you had to haul your trash to the dump? Well, while it was a pain, in addition to meeting other town folk and swapping stories, you knew when you could get rid of your trash because the dump hours were posted. Today we have trash picked up right outside our door. Is that an improvement? Well, yeah, when it’s picked up on time. Today’s Saturday. In the “good old days” I’d have been to the dump and back. But since it’s the 21st century, my trash has been sitting outside my house since Thursday when it was supposed to be picked up and according to the contractor won’t be picked up before Monday. Is that an improvement? Let’s look at the bright side, yeah, there’s a bright side: Imagine if it had to sit outside for four days in the hot sun.

All in all these new 21st-century improvements in winter in New England will take some getting used to.

Rodger Morphett


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