16 December 2008

Baby, It's COLD Outside...
A nice, healthy dose of winter weather awaits you this morning...how seasonal.
Reminds me of those days of long ago...
One thing we always seemed to get was a good ICE STORM at least ONCE every winter back in Philly. Lucky you don't get that much here in the heartland.
There were times that the only way to navigate down a residential street was to grip each car door handle and PULL yourself along (praying the wind was at your BACK)...LOL.
Then there would be wonderful times when your vehicle tires were FROZEN TO THE BLOODY STREET!
"Yeah...I'll be late today at work...no, it's just that my van is stuck to the street by about a half inch of ice, and I can't use a chopper for fear of tearing up the tires..."
Or you had a really intense snow storm that made life on a row home block a living hell for a few days.
You always waited until AFTER the plows came through, and THEN, you burrowed out of your parking spot. Trouble was, there wasn't many places to put the snow you removed, so you had these 5-6 foot tall mountains of snow between every vehicle on the street. Then you had to worry about some lazy-ass TAKING the spot you vacated (that's what trashcans were for). I mean HEY, if "I" spent the time and energy to dig my spot out, and YOU didn't help, then you have NO business thinking MY (clear) spot has suddenly become YOURS, kapeesh?
Of course the good part of such weather was the chance to go ice skating on some frozen chunk of H2O. When it got cold...and STAYED cold, we got our asses up to Washington Crossing State Park (about a 30 minute drive) to skate on the CANALS.
Man, you had the place ALL to yourself.
We were skating near where George Washington crossed the Delaware into NJ during the Revolutionary War...cool, huh?
Imagine a stretch of virgin ice several HUNDRED feet long and over FIFTY feet wide.
Of course, you could hear the ice cracking along the length of the canal from time to time. That's a weird sound!
The "Stateys" posted signs telling the depth of the ice, and we NEVER went out on anything LESS than 5-6 inches. That was the law, and we didn't want to spend the day in cold, soggy clothes anyway. No one else to bother you (no one else to help if you fell in either)...just good clean fun. Loads better than public rinks, believe me. And the drive up and back was always interesting.
Driving in winter weather wasn't really a problem for me or my friends. We grew up with our dads cussin' and fussin' every year over the weather...and we "learned" from that (how to cuss that is)...no really, we actually paid attention to how dad navigated streets, how he handled skids, slippage, and overall lousy road conditions to make sure all the family got home in one piece.
And I did learn a lot...
I remember one time I was coming back from an assignment out in Deptford, NJ (about 45 minutes from Philly) and the weather deteriorated SO bad SO fast, they basically closed the facility and told people to go home.
Works for me.
It became one of "those" ice/snow/sleet storms that has all but emergency vehicles off the roads.
So I head outta Dodge, and attempt to motor home. I think I created a "new" speed limit for I-95 north - 15 MPH!
Visibility was ZERO, and the wipers were more useless than teats on a bull (they iced up REAL fast, even with the defroster going full tilt). I was one of a HANDFUL of brave souls (or were WE just dumb for being OUT in this crap?) trying to get home. Didn't see ONE emergency vehicle out there at all. And if someone was ahead of you by about 100m, you couldn't even see their tail lights...it was that bad.
What would normally take less than ONE hour to get home became a study in patience as it took OVER TWO HOURS to get back across the Tac/Pal (Tacony-Palmyra) bridge into Philly.
Winter weather indeed.
Of course ALL of you remember that "perfect storm" in the late 70s (winter of 78/79). Yeah, lucky me, I got snowed in at my girlfriend's apartment in Echelon, NJ... (not that bad considering...heh, heh, heh).
When all was said and done, my Ford Torino had snow UP TO THE WINDSHIELD. All you could see anywhere in the parking area were car ROOFTOPS. And of course, I didn't have a proper snow shovel with me...had to borrow one, JUST to clear the tailpipe (and radiator) and fire the car up. That was the EASY part. Trying to get the hell out was quite the other,.
My girlfriend's sister owned a VW beetle (1966 model 1200) and after we dug HER car clear, it started on the first try and we drove off OVER the snow. I was flabbergasted. This little POS was doing what I thought was impossible...driving ON TOP of this massive snowfall. Amazing.
The down side was that the "heater" in those cars left a LOT to be desired. They were AIR-COOLED engines, so the heater was electrical instead of using a radiator fluid flow system. And it was COLD in that damn bug!
But at least WE were motoring along...something even the POLICE weren't doing that day.
Funny thing...when I was REAL young, I don't recall having THAT MANY days off from school. It took an act of God (and a big one at that) to cancel school. Then again, we all WALKED a few blocks to the neighborhood schools.
Back in 1957 we had a whopper snowfall. Made the small (one-way) streets we lived on look like NO MAN'S LAND in WW1. We had dug slit trenches along the sidewalks, and cars just didn't get out for a few days period!
Even the buses weren't running, so Dad got out my SLED, bundled me up and sat me on it, and pulled me to the store to get stuff we needed. He got exercise, I got a free ride, and we got fed all in one shot. Not too shabby.
So getting around for ME in cold weather is not that big a deal.
Hell, ask anyone that's spent time at Thule AFB about COLD weather.
You'll always hear someone mutter: "Brother, you ain't SEEN or felt COLD"...Gotta love it.
But it's GREENLAND for God's sake...what can you expect, right?
Your nearest neighbor is the POLAR BEAR family!
Then there are the Pocono Mountains in Pennsy.
If you want something that looks like a Norman Rockwell portrayal of winter, that's the place to be.
A roaring fire, a serene snowfall outside, and some nice eggnog (flavored with a whiskey of your choice).
Just don't tell me that BEARS tend to come near the chalets this time of year AFTER I've been out gathering firewood for the past half hour in the DARK (where flashlights are useless out past three meters).
Tell me BEFORE.
That's what that shotgun over the mantel is for...it's not decorative, it's for GATHERING FIREWOOD SAFELY!
Still, I do like this time of year.
Damn shame the idiots make it less than enjoyable, though.
But like I always say...if it weren't FOR those idiots, the REST of us wouldn't look SO DAMN GOOD all the time...
And that's the lesson for today, kids.
So keep warm, and don't venture out in this cold unless you have to.
And above all...Stay safe out there.
Also, take a few minutes to feed some birds.
Or some squirrels.
They're hungry too, you know.
And they can't drive out to the store.
(can't reach the pedals, I hear)


Murphy said...


As I child, I spent quite a bit of time in Minnesota. I remember the garage door no opening for the snow, going up to the second story balcony overlooking the garage, and seeing the snow level up to the level of the balcony.

I remember a number of days when waiting on the snowplow became a mandatory, everday occasion.

I'd definitely consider myself a Texan now, adoptive, but still; 50s are cold, 40s are #$@%*^ COLD!, 30s are MISERABLE, and I don't even want to think of anything lower.

Bob G. said...

Roger that, Sarge...

Anything LOWER, & we're talking serious "brass" there, as in some MAJOR "shrinkage"...LOL!

Carry On.

indy said...

that winter when that big snow came we were living in springwood addition on the north side of fort wayne. the snow drifted up to the 2nd floor of our bileval home. dad went out and shovel the back walk way and the drive then made a pee and poo area for the dog. my mom was terrified of me going out into the back yard and tunnelling in it like the dog did. it was cool for the dog to die but not me. lol right now i dont care for weather that gets lower then 45degrees.

Bob G. said...

Overall, I really don't really MIND the cold weather...but my KNEES have other ideas...LOL.

And I think an elbow wants to JOIN them...
Yeah, gettin' OLD-er.