Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Ice Cold Memories

Although I have lived in Houston for many years, I wasn't born or raised here. Tammy's post today reminded me of some very cold weather up north that I hadn't thought of for quite a while, like the time I licked a steel post to see if my tongue would actually stick to it ... it did, and I scared myself half to death!

That was when I was a child, of course, and -- as a child, I often wished for a "snow day" ... no school, hurray! (Even so, many years later -- as an adult & teaching in the public schools -- "snow days" meant you could snuggle up in the blankets a little longer & didn't have to go and shovel your driveway before you could even get your car out!)

This was all assuming you could start your car, you understand. I distinctly remember many times when my husband would actually disconnect the battery from the car & bring it inside the house overnight ... then, he would have to go out in the absolutely frigid cold to try to
reconnect everything & then try to start it up. I have really vivid memories of this!

The above occurred while we were living in Houghton, Michigan ... not "Hooton", folks, O.K? ... in a "cabin" (two motel units with one wall knocked out) ... [Well, what can I tell you? We were young, he was still in undergraduate school at Michigan Tech & I was a teacher. Basically, we were living on the GI Bill with a benefit or two. I remember that he could get a coke on M/W and I could get a cup of coffee on T/Th ... Fridays we drank from the public fountain. Ah, yes, those were the days!] ... anyway, to continue ... ... ...

There were three "cabins". We were in the middle ... all of us just south of a railroad track where -- when the train barreled through --we had to grab all of our meager dishes from the shelves to try and keep them from falling and breaking. I'm serious, here! (It's funny now, but it wasn't at the time.)

Our landlords (who lived across the highway) didn't shovel during the extreme winter months ... so, we had to park our cars at the other side of the highway & snowshoe in. WELL, one extreme winter month, a fraternity brother of one of our neighbors decided he'd like to come and visit his good friend. He was pleasantly surprised to find that the "drive" had been shoveled and proceeded along same.

Thank the good Lord that he only drove a Volkswagen ... ... guess who had driven in on the train tracks?!? (You only get one guess here, and you are correct.) My husband & I were both sound asleep when all of the huffing & puffing to get the VW off of the tracks occurred, thank goodness.

Speaking of snowshoeing (sp.?), I'd like to share just one more true story with you. This occurred (probably) in a January. Blizzard conditions. We were supposed to fly out of Marquette ... a town about 40 miles away. Blizzard conditions! We called the airport to see if they were going to be flying that day ... they wanted to know who was calling ... we identified ourselves. They said, "Of course we're flying. Do you think you can get here?" Now, that really WAS the most important question! We said we thought we could get there, but that we would have to follow the snow plow and we would be very late. They said, "No problem, we'll hold the plane for you." (You have to understand that this happened approximately 45 years ago, O.K? I don't have any idea if that sort of thing would happen in this day and age.)

Anyhoo, we followed the snowplow to Marquette, got to the airport, and were met at the gates by snow-covered persons equipped with extra snowshoes, which we were to don & then follow them in. We did.

We got into the plane (I swear, you couldn't hardly see your hand in front of your face!), sat down & waited for the plane to take off. Seconds passed. Minutes passed. I thought, "My goodness, all of this & we won't be able to leave, after all!" Then, just as I was about to give up hope, the outer door opened and a snowy figure appeared. This snowy figure seemed to be holding a tray with containers of "something" -- that had steam pouring out of their tops. Snowy figure disappeared into the cockpit, but then returned, offering each of us a hot cup of coffee/hot chocolate (I don't remember which). We were told to fasten our seat belts, and off we took!! The pilots weren't waiting for a break in the weather ... they were waiting for their hot drink!


Polimom said...

We said we thought we could get there, but that we would have to follow the snow plow and we would be very late. They said, "No problem, we'll hold the plane for you."

Oh my. Times have changed indeed...

Tammy said...

Did you ever read the book called A Patchwork Planet by Anne Tyler? It's a great story of a young man who used to commit robberies with his friends. While they were busy stealing, he was busy flipping through photo albums, reading letters and journals, etc. The story is actually more about him after his teenage "crimes."

Well, anyway, I suppose if I were a criminal, I would be a little bit like that guy.

People's lives and stories fascinate me. I love to see things through others eyes & get a glimpse of how others live. I couldn't care less about the "valued" items most people are interested in....but I couldn't live without knowing the details of STORIES people have to tell.

Stories are what it's all about for me. I enjoy your stories and thoughts. :)