Woooo baby, it’s cold outside. It has been a long time since winter has slapped us up side the face with a cold snap like the one we’ve endured the past two weeks. Of course, I read the obligatory “global warming story” which explains it is the use of fossil fuel and cow farts that are making the temperatures so painful.
But here is a simple hint to those trying to find the secret meaning behind the current weather pattern – it is winter. It gets cold in the winter. This is why we hate winter. Any questions?
Long before we panicked about every weather event and had to name every winter storm, we had winters where it snowed and got cold. The current foray into the icy hell is being compared to two other wintry years, both of which I remember quite well – 1983 and 1989.
The 1989 cold season was a particularly cold event. I remember one morning my car wouldn’t start, another morning my friend’s car wouldn’t start and we had to push it to a neighbor’s garage to warm it up enough to get it started. I remember breaking a door handle which had frozen shut. I also experimented with a hair dryer on a frozen door. What was the most memorable event of the winter was I left in the midst of it and took a trip to Canada. Calgary, Alberta, Canada to be exact. It was in the below-zero range when we left and it was even colder there.
Fortunately, they keep track of temperatures in Celsius, so I never really knew what the temperature was.
While in Calgary, a Chinook wind came down out of the mountains and it warmed up about 50 degrees in the course of minutes. It was both a shock to my system and a welcome relief.
The 1983 cold snap was much worse, for me anyway. At the time I was a re- porter for the paper in Warrensburg, which is hell, in and of itself. I had been involved in a car accident and had a compression fracture in my back so I could not ride in a car nor walk on slick surfaces. I needed home care so I was staying with my parents while recuperated. Just before the cold snap hit, we had a snowstorm which dumped about a foot of snow on the ground and then the temperatures plummeted.
So to summarize: I am living at home, it’s freezing cold, my back hurts, I can’t go outside and I can’t work. We only had one TV in the house and like any self-respecting man, my dad controlled the remote. The bad part for me was it was
the heyday of “The Nashville Network.”
My dad loved that channel. Since it was cold and snowy and he was retired, there was no reason for him to even go outside, so I pretty much had a choice of “The Nashville Network” or nothing. In fairness, I liked some of the shows, but he would watch Ralph Emery live from 7 to 9 p.m., then watch the replay the next morning at 10 a.m. and then again at 2 p.m.
That’s a lot of Ralph Emery. The bad part about snow and cold as we are now witnessing is the world is a sea of white. So even looking out the window had little entertainment value.
I remember some friends finally came to see me and it was warm enough I could actually walk out to their car. We went to a fast-food restaurant and sat talking for a couple hours. I couldn’t have been much happier.
Finally, the cold left, I finally got to go back to work and there is no longer “The Nashville Network.”
So cold weather passes, climate change or not. Soon it will be spring and we will have rain and thunderstorms, climate change or not. And then it will be summer and it will be hot, climate change or not. And then we flip the script and it all happens again.
I wonder if I will remember the bitter winter of 2021 vividly like ’83 and ’89, or if it will just be some meaningless statistic during weather forecasts in future year.