The first time I saw snow...

My boss was right. I really did not have to get out and could probably have made the trip yesterday in shirtsleeves instead of the 4 layers of very warm clothes I was wearing. But, better safe than sorry. I thought of a dozen disasters that would have left me stranded outside and I was ready for any of them.

Flying in to Minneapolis, I had a window seat. The view was breathtaking. Clouds over Detroit, but after a little, that cleared off and the snow on the ground was just beautiful. I know you guys that live in this are tired of it, but for a southern boy, it was great fun.

It reminded me of the first time I was ever anywhere that was really cold. I spent February and the first week of March 1990 in Cleveland for work. And, this is way back Wednesday.

Honestly, I had never seen anything like it. In my childhood, we had ice storms that were beautiful in their own right, with every needle of the pine trees covered with a layer of ice, but snow was a totally different thing. And, in the south, when there's ice on the roads, everything closes down until the ice is gone. Not so in the north.

When I got to Cleveland that year, the snow was not very thick, but a couple of days into it, there was a heavy snowfall that left snow on the ground up to my knees. And, me in leather soled cowboy boots. It's a wonder I didn't break my neck. It was "blue cold". A friend took me to an empty parking lot and put me behind the wheel of my rental car and mashed her foot on the gas until she put the car into a spin and then made me learn how to get traction out of it. That's always seemed a strange way to teach someone to drive on ice, but from what I understand talking to my friends from the north, it's quite a common story among them. I made snowmen and snow angels. I was awakened every morning at 4am by the plow guy in the hotel parking lot. I saw yellow snow (that I didn't make!) and the dirty sludge snow that gets pushed to the side of the road by the big highway plows.

On the way to the office one morning, I decided I could pass the snowplow on the right. (You northerners can stop laughing now) What I got was a windshield covered with heavy black snow and I could not see out. I quickly turned on the windshield wipers and all they did was move around inside the snow without pushing it off the windshield. At 45 mph, going down an unfamiliar freeway, that was one of my most frightening driving experiences.

At the time I was a smoker and we went down to the parking garage for a cig one day without our coats and of course, there was a fire alarm that sent everyone outside. That's probably the coldest I've ever been.

And, because I was flying home every weekend, I learned to leave things up there instead of hauling it all back and forth. I flew into Cleveland in a heavy snow and ice storm one Sunday night and my coat in the trunk of a friends car didn't do me any good. I can remember that the road was solid white. No one had driven in the snow and the only way I could tell I was on the road was to stay between the pilings of the bridges. I don't know if I was in a lane or over the line, but I never got off the road.

So, when you're laughing about schools and offices closing in the south because of a little snow, or you hear about people running out to play in it, remember that we don't all get to see it that often. I was 28 before I saw my first real snow.

Take care and have a great Wednesday. I'm in the sabotaged hotel room. Someone broke all the electronics, so I didn't have an alarm clock, I got the TV turned on but couldn't turn down the volume or turn it off, and the coffeepot didn't work. When the hotel guy got up here, he just shook his head and offered to move me, but by that time, he'd fixed everything but the coffee pot. I didn't find out about that til this morning. Sombody thought they were taking revenge on the hotel, but really, they were just inconveniencing another traveler. But, it's happened to me before and some butthead is probably sabotaging a room somewhere right now.



Trish said...

Welcome to my beloved(although, sickeningly white) Minnesota!!! Find Moorhead on a map and you will find me here quilting ;)

lw said...

I used to travel a lot for business to New Hampshire and New York. I grew up in California, so learning to drive in snow was tricky! I kept wanting to stare at the flakes coming at my windshield instead of focus on the road. Hope the rest of the trip goes well.