There are things you come to expect with the first winter storm of the season.
People, even native-born Iowans, initially seem to forget how to drive on ice- and snow-covered streets. They slide through intersections and glide into snowbanks.
Other drivers in our friendly region will do their best to help their stranded neighbors - and even strangers - get their vehicles unstuck or their driveways cleared out.
And, some newspaper subscribers will call The Messenger, unhappy because their paper is late.
I, of all people, am a diehard fan of the printed newspaper. I love the look and feel of the paper in my hands, and I've felt that way since I had my first newspaper job as a teenager in Albia. You don't need to do the math; just know that it was a long, long time ago.
I think a newspaper should be an invaluable part of everyone's day.
However, even I don't expect someone to endanger his or her life to get my paper to me in a business-as-usual fashion during a major winter storm.
On Thursday, at a time of day when most of The Messenger's subscribers were just starting to get up or had made initial efforts to tunnel out of the snowpack, members of the newspaper's circulation department were already in the office, dealing with a flurry of phone calls, and out on the roads trying to complete routes that hadn't get been delivered. Carriers called in who were stuck in ditches, stranded by whiteout conditions in outlying areas and, in one case, rescued by the Iowa State Patrol.
Despite going to press four hours early Wednesday night to try to avoid the worst of the snowstorm, there were delays in delivering some of the papers. There will always be delays when the weather is so extreme that local and area schools are shut down, snow ordinances are in effect and state officials tell people to stay off the streets.
But rest assured, people in The Messenger's circulation department are doing the best they can, the most they can, to deliver as many papers as quickly - and as safely - as possible. I think they deserve some patience and a lot of appreciation.
Barbara Wallace Hughes is the managing editor of The Messenger.