The surreal scene before me was one of wonder. Nothing short of awe-inspiring, could it be that I was looking upon a precursor of Armageddon? No, nothing quite so dramatic as the end of civilization. Although the street and surrounding neighborhood were in desolate purgatory, I reminded myself that this is New England.
The snow storm, which had blanketed areas as far west as Chicago, and as far south as West Virginia, had dumped nearly 30 inches at my doorstep. Such snow storms, categorized as blizzards, are not new to the Boston area. The Blizzard of '78 became the benchmark by which future storms would be compared. Watch out '78, you have a challenger!
What began as some auspicious flurries at 3:15 PM on Saturday, the 22nd, had turned into Mother Nature's generous gift for this edition of winter. The 30 inches on the ground is lying in wait for an additional 6 inches by 6 PM tonight. With a projected high temperature of 10 degrees, acompanied by 30+ mph winds gusting upwards to 70 mph, I didn't need to hear the news report that schools would be closed on Monday and posibly on Tuesday as well.
An arduous adventure began when it was discovered that 4 foot wall of drifted snow had barricaded the storm door to our back porch. Without music, the dogs' frenzied dancing was apparent as my wife removed the lower pane of the door. Through this portal she began burrowing out of the house, onto the porch and into the maelstrom of wind and snow. As I was bundling myself into multiple layers, she had managed to get the door open, and had swathed out a narrow path across the porch and to the foor of the stairs. Those dogs are not stupid by any means, as they, one at a time, ventured into the elements, relieved themselves, and made haste their retreat into protection of the house. By this time, I was so wrapped up in protective clothing, I was nearly immobile. I hoped that I would not share the same fate that had befallen Ralphie's little brother in the classic film, A Christmas Story.
When I entered the kitchen, there before me, stood none other than Nanook of the NorthEast! My wife, her green hooded coat, spray-painted white by the gale driven snow, gave me proof that it was indeed a blizzard out there. Her demeanor was screaming, "Don't go out there!", went unacknowledged. My resolve was to do the manly thing.
For some strange reason, within my head, I heard the jingle: "Mr. Trouble never hangs around... When he hears this mighty sound." To which I mentally responded "Here I come to save the day!" That recollected vision of Andy Kaufmann and his record player on an SNL skit, quickly evaoprated before my foot touched the porch.
My adventure was a short one, limited to merely fetching the other snow shovels from the garage, and digging a wider path on the stairs and porch. My face stinging, my fingers cold despite the gloves, I feigned success. Thusly, I decided that hibernation was the most obvious course of action.
That returns me to my reverie, looking upon the scene before me. Eventually, when the storm winds down, and driving winds have abated, I will have begin shoveling in earnest. When is the storm supposed to end? 6 PM, you say? Wait just a minute!! The Patriots-Steelers game kicks-off at 6:30! The winner goes to the Super Bowl! I think I will listen to the doctors' warnings about shoveling snow and placing myself at risk for a heart attack. Tomorrow looks ideal for snow removal.
At 6 PM, the ultimate storm adventure will begin with the preparation of chilli, popcorn, and of course harvesting some brewskies from the fridge. By the time the game is underway I will be sweating bullets. For you see, it is labor intensive to watch a football game on a stormy New England day with Nanook of the NorthEast ready to put me on ice.
For another take on the blizzard of '05, check out