We have a handful of certainties every winter when the temperature dips and the flakes fall.

School will be shut down. Heck, Thursday was Jan. 18. School let out for Christmas on Dec. 18. Between Christmas break, Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the snow, Hamilton County kids convened at school five times in a month.

Second, there will be the unneeded heckling from those who have transplanted from the North to our area about how we freak out about the snow.

We do, and we get it. In Chicago and Buffalo and all points in between, you learned to pedal your tricycle in 8 inches of snow and ice. Bully for you.

(That said, consider these two things: It's clear why those folks left those locales. And second, cut us slow snow-driving Southerners some slack. We are not used to it. Like you Northern folks and college football titles. Deal?)

The other winter certainty is that when the storm breaks, area car washes are going to be busier than a termite in a saw mill.

"All hands on deck," Glen Kahana said Friday around lunch as cars were spilling onto Signal Mountain Road from Surf's Up Car Wash. "We were like this all day yesterday and will be like this through the weekend."

If stores have Black Friday, this can be called White Weekend after all the remnants of road treatments, salts and weather.

"We're going to do everything we can to help as many people as we can," Kahana said.

High time

Here's hoping Tennessee state legislators continue to explore the best way to make medicinal marijuana a part of our future. Kudos.

As the conversation for the medicinal use of marijuana continues, here's another tale of making sure those who have it on hand are as careful as possible.

According to the CBS affiliate in Albuquerque, N.M., a fifth-grader mistakenly picked up her parents' medicinal marijuana candy and handed it out to her classmates at the Albuquerque School of Excellence. (Here's betting that day it was the Albuquerque School of Excellence, Dude.)

None of the four kids who took the candy were harmed, but there were unconfirmed reports everyone seemed way more relaxed and the cafeteria had a record-setting day in sales of pizza and Doritos.

Generous spirit

For the most part, one of the greatest parts of our American principles is that we are a very giving bunch.

That's amazing.

Two stories this week based in our generous nature, though, were at opposite ends of the heart-warming and head-scratching meter. I'll let you decide which.

First there was the growing and commendable trend of NFL fan bases contributing to opposing players' charities because of plays or games they find commendable. For example, the fans of the Buffalo Bills gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to Andy Dalton's charity after the Cincinnati quarterback helped his team beat Baltimore to get Buffalo into the playoffs.

In last week's playoff game, New Orleans punter Thomas Morstead played through torn rib cartilage, and the Vikings paid tribute by paying tributes to his charitable foundation. When the total exceeded $100,000 Morstead vowed to give it to a Minneapolis children's hospital and make the presentation himself.

Then there is a Maine animal rescue organization that told ABC News it has raised enough money to save a 15-year-old pony that lost its penis to frostbite and cancer.

Yes, that's a sentence I did not expect to write anytime soon, but there you go.

Saturday stars

If you have some time today, help the great folks at Chattanooga National Cemetery.

I have long been a fan of the national cemetery — it may be my favorite single place downtown — and am even more so after attending the burial of a friend's father last month.

What a powerful place and a true treasure to our community. Now the cemetery needs help collecting the 20,000 wreaths placed on grave markers during the holidays.

"First, we really appreciate each of the volunteers that either sponsored a wreath, attended our ceremony, or helped distribute wreaths in December," the Civil Air Patrol's 2nd Lt. Austen Roberts told the Times Free Press." Now, we need volunteers to help us retrieve the wreaths."

The collection starts this morning at 9; details will be provided at the gate for those interested in helping. If you'd like more information, call 423-708-2352 or email

Contact Jay Greeson at or 423-757-6343.