Snowfall shows our manners

Feb. 14, 2014 @ 06:13 PM

Snowpocalypse. Snowmageddon. Snowfie. So many, or rather, snow many, ways to add snow into words depicting our inclement environment.

There’s not a good way to merge “snow” with “helpful” or “Good Samaritan” or “neighborly.” I know I’m not the only one saying it, but it needs to be said and spread like so many flakes on the North Carolina ground: This snow storm brought out the best in a lot of people in a good neighborly way, whether the neighbor was next door, or in many cases, the next car. There is story after story of people helping to push drivers out of the way or back onto to tread-able roads.

On my drive to work Friday, even as the glorious sun was melting away the mess on plowed main roads, side streets were still a slushy, snowy muddle. I spotted an SUV stuck at the top of a hill waiting for an opening in traffic. Behind it was a young man getting ready to push when the older driver saw an opening. I don’t know if the young man -- maybe a teenager -- knew the driver or not, but he was helping because help was needed. The Herald-Sun published multiple stories and photographs of stuck drivers and those who used their physical strength to help out.

It’s easy to toss out comments about the decline of American society or whatever. Frankly, I don’t agree. Life is better in many ways, if not every way, than it was a few generations ago. Just ask any woman or minority. The best part of the stories and photographs of people helping other people during the snowpocalypse is that they included a range of ages and races. It was mostly men pushing the cars, so I’ll give credit where it’s due. Men and women offered food, shelter and strength to strangers this past week when Mother Nature descended. They treated each other like they would like to be treated, I think, a Golden Rule most folks know.

Not everyone helps everyone, of course. There were plenty of cars zipping in and out of icy roads, including that awful double fatality in Wake County. But I like to think that most people aren’t jerks. I can’t say it’s our lovely Southern manners that led to helping out, because these kinds of stories are told in town after town in every state in the nation. Still, it’s nice to know that in Durham and the rest of the Triangle and North Carolina, we haven’t forgotten our manners.

Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan may be reached at or 919-419-6563. On Twitter: @dawnbvaughan.