When it comes to bragging, Texans often head the list. We’ll seek an exemption, though, when it comes to dealing with wintry weather.

We are, as a group, wimps in this category. Screams of "calf rope" are heard across our cities, hills and dales as cars collide and hospitals fill.

‘Tis a pity, when sleet and snow cover Texas landscapes, that we can’t all be in care centers, shuffling about, eating soft foods and watching TV….

For hours on end, TV folks try to present the same old facts in shiny new packages.

Really, though—frills and ribbons or not—the message remains unchanged: Low temperatures mean we’ll get cold if we go outdoors, and slippery surfaces mean that we’ll slide heaven knows "which-away" if we try to walk. And it’s even worse if we try to drive.

There’s a reason that travel agencies report a spike in reservations for exotic vacation destinations—a couple of months out, of course. The folks making them are auto bodyshop people and orthopedic surgeons. Right now, they’re busy with mending tasks….

It seems that the toughest jobs are done by the TV people who prepare those little "closing or late-opening" banners that roll endlessly across the bottom of the screen.

Some of them have to be bogus. And some tell of such tiny churches, schools or other entities that have zero funds for advertising, so here’s their chance for free plugs.

Oh, if the late Flip Wilson could be here to find out that his "Church of What’s Happening Now" couldn’t hold a light to some of the names of worship groups on those banners. I’m talkin’ about the church names that take three printed lines on the screen—the ones that the announcers can barely say in just one breath….

For city folks, these banners show names of schools, churches and firms that 99% of us don’t even know exist!

What if TV moguls get wise, one of these days, and decide that we can all go to the respective websites to learn specific schedules?

This brings to mind olden days, when we huddled around radios to see if school would be open…

Our radio station had a "fail safe" plan to make sure of accuracy.

Each fall, the manager contacted area superintendents, giving them "code words" to use later in the year if they opted for school closures.

One year, the code word was something like "petunia."…

A high school prankster got wind of the word. On a cold but dry and sunny day in January, he called the radio station, whispering "petunia" to the disc jockey.

Immediately, the easily-fooled DJ made the announcement that our school would be closed that day.

There was havoc, of course. And they changed the code word right away. But some of us stayed home that day….

During one siege of icy weather, our DJ ran out of records and things to talk about, so he invited listeners to "call in," even to recite original poetry.

Many of the listeners droned on with their "roses are red, violets are blue" stuff. Then, a little old lady called in with her rhyme.

"I’m not sure that my poem is worthy of being heard on all the big radios," she mentioned to the DJ. "But maybe it’s good enough for you to broadcast just over those little transistor radios…."

Bill Parcells, Dallas Cowboys’ head coach, has been described in many ways. Maybe "prophet" should be added to the list.

Perhaps there’s a reason he’s kept owner Jerry Jones in the dark concerning his plans for the 2007 season.

I mean, if he’d made his retirement announcement during an ice storm, traffic jams could have been much worse. Think how many assistant coaches would have been out on the pavement, looking for jobs….

I dozed off, right here at the end of this week’s epistle, and had two dreams.

One was about a TV banner, announcing that a semi-annual meeting—the one for "Thrice-Divorced, Left-Handed, Bald-Headed Belly Button Contemplators with Astrological Signs of Pisces"—would be postponed.

Then, this dream snippet: On a lawn, the eight-year-old entrepreneurial guy who had a lemonade stand last summer, erected it again on his snow-covered lawn. His sign read: "Snow Cones for Sale—Made with Virgin Snow…."

Dr. Newbury is a speaker and author whose weekly humor column appears in 125 newspapers in six states. He welcomes inquiries and comments. Send e-mails to: newbury@speakerdoc.com Call him at 817-447-3872. His website: www.speakerdoc.com