Would you believe that in only one more week Tom Boswell, our young baseball writing phenom, will be in Florida covering spring training?

While you and I are stalled in massive traffic jams caused by snow and ice, Tom will be basking in the sun. We'll listen to the cold wind howl while Tom will be hearing birds sing and fastballs hum.

Oh, well. If Tom keeps us posted about baseball, we can keep him abreast of what's new at home.

My mail indicates that many adults have been flunking their stress tests on snow days, especially when they drive their autos. Dwaine W. Dilts says some of them appear to reason that every moment they're in transit they're in danger of being involved in an accident. Their strategy, therefore, is to drive as fast as possible. They assume that if they can finish their route in half the time, they'll be half as likely to be in a smashup.

Young people are getting better reviews. James V. Winkler of Potomac reported: "Last Monday was one of the worst days of my life. I was one of the unfortunate motorists trapped in the mess attempting to reach Canal Road.

"The one bright experience in the miserable eight hours it took me to get home happened when I was a few blocks from M Street, traveling (?) on 34th Street near N. There a young lady and her equally lovely companion offered me a cup of coffee. I accepted it gratefully, and it made life worth living. I offered money for their thoughtfulness, but they would not accept any."

Mrs. Hobart A. Spalding tells about children on a Sheridan School bus who noticed that fire had broken out in the undercarriage of an automobile behind them.

The children tried to convey a warning in pantomime, but the driver of the burning car couldn't understand what they were trying to tell him.

Then 9-year-old Zander Scott remembered he was carrying a schoolbook that has a chapter titled "FIRE! FIRE!" in large letters.

Zander turned quickly to the fire chapter and held his book up to the back window of the bus. The driver of the threatened car came to an abrupt stop, grabbed a fire extinguisher and saved his car. He can thank Zander Scott for not letting that fire get to the gasoline tank.

Our great snow shovel debate continues. It began when I said that not having a shovel may be a blessing in disguise. "You can hire a neighborhood lad or lass to do the shoveling and avoid risking a heart attack."

First, readers complained that few kids are willing to shovel snow these days, even at high pay rates.

Now readers are countering that the trick is to get younger children to do the work. As one mother put it, "At 11 or 12, they're still a little shy about asking neighbors to hire them, and not yet sophisticated enough to demand high prices. By 13 or 14, they have learned how the world operates. At 17 they're as independent as our neighborhood plumber."

Mrs. R.E. Snesrud wrote: "We are lucky enough to live in a neighborhood (Baker Drive in Silver Spring) where young people come around and ask to shovel our walks. The last time it snowed, on Monday, a man came by with a small tractor and cleared out several driveways in our block. Wouldn't take a cent. How's that for a good Samaritan? He had us wondering whether he was from outer space."

Susan J. Graham had a similar reaction. "I wondered if I was seeing things. This is my third winter here, and the kids are still at it.

"Every snowfall brings out a group of from four to six childre -- all girls except one -- who proceed to shovel out all the retired folks on this end of the street.

"Sometimes they go on and shovel other walks, and one day last week a 9-year-old girl could be seen shoveling a path the length of the entire block on both sides of the street!

"Furthermore, these children are motivated by kindness, not money, and never ask for payment. They will sometimes accept a dollar or two when the snow is especially heavy, but generally not. The beneficiaries of this shoveling service are, in turn, willing to share their time with the children. They serve cookies and drinks, keep house keys when parents arrive unexpectedly late, share stamp albums, or just sit and chat with children who feel like visiting. In short, sharing and caring and being helpful are alive and well on North Galveston Street here in Arlington."

Are there any houses for sale in the neighborhood, Susan?