“Oh, the weather outside is frightful

But the fire is so delightful

And since we've no place to go

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow”

In 1945, Vaughn Monroe became the first of many famous singers to record “Let It Snow.” Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Ella Fitzgerald and Dean Martin also recorded the song. Martin's playfully seductive 1959 rendition remains the most popular version – and the one most often played on radio stations during Christmas season.

Brittany Gray probably wishes she'd stayed inside by a warm, cozy fire on March 25, 2013, instead of venturing out into the snow, but she was a student at the Brandywine campus of Penn State and did have some place to go. En route to class, she slipped on a snow-covered sidewalk and allegedly suffered multiple injuries.

Gray sued the university for more than $50,000 in damages, but her case was sent to arbitration and she was awarded $26,295 last December.

The university had invoked the “hills and ridges doctrine” in its defense, arguing that barely more than an inch of snow fell during that entire day, that a mere quarter-inch had fallen at the time of Gray's accident, and that, consequently, there was little accumulation.

In short, it was not reasonable for Gray to expect the university to keep walkways free of ice and snow at all times, even while snow was falling.

Halloween will be here before you know it, then Thanksgiving and Christmas. Winter will soon be upon us and the “hills and ridges doctrine” again in play. Streets and sidewalks will be treacherous at times and we'll have to negotiate them carefully, in appropriate footwear. 

When the weather outside is truly frightful, why not be safe and stay home, enjoy a nice warm fire with a special someone, and listen to “Let It Snow” on the radio?

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