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LJ Idol week 2: uphill, both ways, barefoot
beeker
beeker121

After college I did a year’s internship in Baltimore.  It was as far south as I had ever lived, and I enjoyed the warmer fall and winter weather. Compared to the weather in my Wisconsin hometown, it was positively balmy.   Then, in early January, it snowed. 

It was a reasonable amount of snow -- about 7” by the time the storm was done.  The city shut down and started digging themselves out, and I made extra money shoveling out the front of the theatre and the parking behind the actors’ housing.  It was a fun day with the occasional snow ball fight mixed into the work; it felt like home.

But then the next day the schools and many businesses were still closed.  Only half the streets were plowed, and most people hadn’t bothered to shovel their walks at all.  On the fourth day, just about everything was STILL closed.  This seemed truly bizarre.  It had only been 7” of snow. 

That night, as I was hanging out with some of the other interns, we started telling stories…

My senior year of high school, an early December day dawned slightly overcast and unusually warm.  There were storm warnings and many schools in the area had closed just in case, but not mine.  I walked the five blocks to school as usual that morning, dressed in only a sweater to take advantage of the nice weather.

During second period I looked out the windows and realized that it had started to snow – a lot.  It was coming down in big heavy flakes and the ground was already white.  The school was abuzz with the idea that we’d be getting out early.  Finally the announcement came; the day would end at 11am.

My brother and I met up at Mom’s office after the last bell, hoping for a ride home, but she wasn’t sure when she could leave.  That was when we found out that the school closure wasn’t going quite as planned.  The owner of the busing company had made a decision; the roads were too bad.  The buses weren’t moving.

Mom suggested that we each find friends who ordinarily bused home who might want to walk to our place, and asked us to call when we got there.  Paul and I each found a few friends willing to brave the weather and we set out on the walk home.

By the time we got across the school parking lot we needed to stop, ducking behind a car.  The wind was whipping the snow at us, stinging our hands and faces, and it was so strong we had to lean into it to move. Of course, we were all dressed for the mid 40 temperatures of the morning.  We discussed going back, but decided that spending any extra time at school was too horrible to contemplate.  So despite the cold wind and the snow, we pressed on, ducking behind parked cars, decorative hedges, trees, or anything we could find.

After taking 25 minutes to walk four blocks, we were within sight of our house; cold, wet, and aching.  We were hiding behind the last wind break we’d see before our porch.  At a signal from my brother we all took off, sprinting across the street and over the extended lawn.  The snow was already ankle deep in some places and I could feel the snow seeping into my shoes.  I stumbled at least once and fell to a knee, soaking my jeans.  I got to my feet with the snow stinging my face and ran blindly for the door.

Paul got there first and unlocked the back door.  We all stumbled into the house, and I answered the ringing phone.  It was Mom, worried about us.  She wasn’t going to be able to leave.  Too many students were stuck at the school.  She recommended towels and hot chocolate.  We made sandwiches for lunch and settled in to find something decent on TV.  The walk home that ordinarily took ten minutes tops had been just over a half hour.

The school buses never ran that day.  It snowed 9” in seven hours, and continued blowing throughout the night.  Parents who had vehicles that could make it to the school to pick up their children did, and everyone brought friends home with them.  Not everyone made it out though.  A dozen people had to spend the night at school.

As Baltimore continued to wait for warmer weather, those interns who were from more Southern climes were miserable, and tried hard to not step outside at all.  I like to think I convinced them that it could have been worse, though.

 

@@@This is my entry for week 2 of LJ Idol - the topic is “uphill, both ways, barefoot”.  I'll post a link to the poll once it is up on Friday.  Thank you for reading.@@@



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I've heard horror stories about upstate NY. Wisconsin could be buried from Nov - April some years, but we usually had a random spring thaw in there at least.

Weather is one of the universal things to complain about, and it is always worse somewhere else. That amuses me.

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