Reassuring tale of two cities

In contrast to Atlanta's frozen torment, the storm in Charleston inspired this miniature snowman at Marion Square.

Atlanta has the Braves.

We have the RiverDogs.

Atlanta has "Gone With the Wind."

We have "The Lords of Discipline."

Atlanta has a huge aquarium.

We have a smaller one.

Atlanta had a winter-blunderland debacle with what The Weather Channel calls Winter Storm Leon.

We didn't.

And while that might seem like cold comfort for local parents trying to figure out what to do with their kids on another school day off, it's good to know that the folks in charge here know what they're doing when Mother Nature calls and she's in a really bad mood.

Their challenge is the balancing act between giving fair weather warning and crying weather wolf. Fail to do the former and people are caught off guard - and as they were Tuesday in Atlanta, caught in frigid gridlock while their kids were stuck overnight in school.

Go too far with the latter and people are tempted to disregard meteorological alarms the next time around.

Mind your manners

As for Leon's stop here, after his big buildup, the visit was a little bit anticlimactic.

Then again, who needs shivering drama?

Still, some of our bridges closed for extended periods - and some snow fell, at least in my Mount Pleasant neighborhood. While the grounds at Stately Wooten Manor didn't get quite the full white cover we wanted, this latest manifestation of severe climate change did precipitate renewed appreciation for living where frozen turf is the exception rather than the rule.

Plus, our community came across quite well on The Weather Channel - especially compared with not-so-Hotlanta.

The Weather Channel's Jim Cantore, reporting live from the College of Charleston, even demonstrated a rasslin'-like, leverage-based, self-defense move Tuesday night. As he informed viewers of the approaching combination of freezing rain, ice and snow, a young man - presumably a wayward scholar - let loose with a disconcerting howl and rushed him. Cantore calmly countered with a knee to the, er, never mind. The foiled aggressor, properly shamed, scurried out of view, taking his shameful betrayal of our exalted politeness reputation with him.

Cantore quipped: "Obviously, here at the College of Charleston, they're already having a good time."

Even Mayor Joe Riley had a good time with Cantore Tuesday night.

Cantore: "What kind of a hit is this for tourism?"

Riley: "Well, this is probably the slowest time of the year. The good thing about bad winter weather in Charleston is spring will be here before you know it. And there's nothing more beautiful than Charleston in springtime."

There's also nothing more typical of the mayor than finding a way to accentuate Holy City positives, regardless of the occasion.

He shall return

Riley's testimonial for our indisputably glorious Charleston spring inspired this echo from Atlanta-based Cantore: "You got that right - I'll see you back for the Food and Wine Festival, sir."

Cantore then closed by praising "kind of the cool, Southern way of handling things" in Charleston.

So keep your own cool while enjoying what's left of very cold Leon.

Save that snowman - or is it an iceman? - in your freezer before more climate change melts him.

Drive safely, if you must drive at all today.

And the next time you wish you lived somewhere with a big-league team and a bigger aquarium, think again.

Frank Wooten is assistant editor of The Post and Courier. His email is