Given the recent winter weather, both here in OurTown, and (more prominently in the news) elsewhere, it seems a fitting moment to recall some winter-weather stories. My friend Suldog has, on a couple of occasions,including just recently, posted about a massive snowstorm that whacked the New England area in February of 1978.
Well, we had a Blizzard of '78 here in Michigan, too, but ours was a week or two earlier, in mid/late January. We got 18 inches of snow, and it pretty much shut down the southern half of the State of Michigan for a couple days. The following October, the local birthrate was 30% higher than normal ('cuz, you know, you can only play so many games of Monopoly, right?). And so, I offer you a few stories from the Blizzard of '78, mainly kluged together from comments I've left on other people's blogs (mainly Suldog's). . .
The massive snowfall forced my mega-university to close for only the second time in its history. And one should never underestimate the capacity of college students, whose classes have been cancelled, for some monumental feats of stupidity.
A group of guys on the top floor of our four-story dorm decided (with plenty of, uh, ‘lubrication’, you can be sure) that it would be really cool to jump out of their windows into the 8-10-foot-high snow drifts that had piled up against the wall. So, for an hour or so, guys were lining up to jump out of 4th-floor windows into the huge snow drift. They would let out a yell while they fell, and then they’d land with a muffled ‘WHUMP’ as they belly-flopped into the snow. And, wondrously to behold (heck, maybe miraculously; that whole bit about how God protects drunks and fools, and all that), the snow absorbed the energy of their fall quite nicely. The drift extended all along the outside wall of the dorm, so, as the drift got beaten down in one location, the jumpers just moved progressively down to the other rooms on the 4th floor. After a while, the supply of willing jumpers began to dwindle, and they started to grab guys out of the shower, to throw them, wet and naked, into the snow drift below. It was the very picture of drunken college hijinks.
Until one of the jumpers inadvertently discovered the bike rack concealed beneath the snow drift, which left him with a few broken bones. After that, the mood was kinda killed. . .
Being college students with a couple of serendipitously unscheduled days off, my roommate and I decided to go off in search of suitable convivial beverages (and in sufficient quantities). . .
We first headed to the small 7-11-type store across from our dorm, but there was a line out the door, snaking back-and-forth across the parking lot, then through all the aisles in the store, back to the beer fridge, and up to the registers. The store was rationing beer to one 6-pack per customer, so everyone could get some, and even at that, it was likely that they would be sold out before we made our way back to the fridge.
So we decided to start hoofing it thru the 18-inch deep snow (drifted considerably deeper in spots, you can be sure), toward the larger town to the west of the college town (known to all my blog-friends as OurTown; the college town, being to the east of the larger town to the west, is East OurTown), having nothing particularly better to do for the next couple hours, anyway (walking into a raging blizzard, through thigh-deep snow with no particular plan beyond knowing we wanted to procure beer; good thinking, right?)
About 3/4 of a mile from our dorm, a stone's throw past the freeway underpass that loosely marks the boundary between OurTown and East OurTown, we found another, even smaller, hole-in-the-wall party store that managed to open that day, so we went in and asked the clerk how much beer he'd let us buy. Well, he was far enough from campus that he felt no need to ration his beer sales, and he told us he'd sell us whatever we could pay for. So we pooled our pocket cash, and managed to scrape together enough to buy two cases, and we started hoofing it back to the dorm, only now we each had a case of beer to lug thru the snowdrifts (a thumbnail calculation reveals that we were each carrying about 18 pounds of beer alone, saying nothing of the weight of the cans or the packaging; so it was a not-inconsiderable load, even if we weren't trudging through waist-deep snow) (But, you know, the beer must get through!). After a while, a guy with a 4-wheel-drive Jeep came along, and seeing how we were struggling through the snow with our barley-malt burden, graciously offered to drive us back to the dorm, if each of us gave him one can of beer. Hmmmmm (rubbing our snow-encrusted chins as we weighed his offer). . . OK!
So, that night, we were the hosts of the floor blizzard party, since between us, we had almost eight times as much beer as anyone else. . .