As the impending winter storm approaches – local news puts projected area totals at 16-24" with some areas getting more than 2' – I'm reminded of a similar storm back in the early 1980s.
Like this storm it arrived on a February Friday with lots of hand-wringing and local news buildup occurring all week. By Thursday afternoon forecasters were calling for a storm of death with crippling snowfall amounts visiting the region.
Naturally, our high school was abuzz at the prospect of an extended weekend and rumors of school being closed Friday were so persistent that the principal took to the airwaves and declared in no uncertain terms that school was on and they would wait until there was actual snow before making any decisions.
Crushed, I went to bed that night anticipating another day of junior year drudgery. My Friday morning routine followed as usual: sleep as late as possible, wolf down breakfast after I showered and head off on the 2 mile walk, Walkman on, new wave blaring as I trudged past 7-Eleven, McDonald's, Burger King...
Somewhere in the parking lot of the old Two Guy's (I believe it was a Jefferson Ward by this point) I finally started taking note of my surroundings and it slowly dawned on me. I hadn't seen a bus pass me by during the entire trip, nor any cars filled with fellow students. Our principal had been so adamant the previous day I hadn't bothered to listen to local radio (in the days before Twitter, Facebook, and local news shows with crawls of closings and delays).
In other words, I'd gotten up for nothing. School had been closed based on the dire forecast and I was free to head home and do whatever it was I did back in 1983. I'm guessing watching trashy movies and college basketball... some things never change.
When the snow finally started later that day it came on like Vin Diesel and Paul Walker... fast and furious. By the time I glanced out the bedroom window of our suburban split level that evening the snow was piling up at a then-record pace.
When it was all said and done the official snowfall for the area stood at 21.3", a record only bested by storms in 2009 (23.2") and 1996 (30.7"). If the forecasts, watches and warnings here remain on target, this weekend's storm could easily land in the top 5 for my new home of Maryland. Yay... ugh.
Things have changed a lot in the ensuing 27 years. I'm up earlier than I ever got up as a teenager, blogging and working on client projects before the storm hits. I can't remember what provisions my Mom had on hand back in 1983 but I'm pretty positive they didn't include wings, guacamole, pork shoulder, Lancaster Milk Stout (this winter's beer of choice) and Pepperwood Grove Pinot Noir (one of my fave $8 bottles of wine).
Today I'll be roasting a nice chicken to go along with what may have been the best mashed potatoes I ever made and juggling conference calls, Quark layouts, our daughter, our dog, and two visiting dogs as we watch the snow pile up outside. All the while wishing my wife was here to watch with us, not stuck inside her work for the weekend.
Who knows if this weekend's storm will rival what dumped on us 27 years ago, but I'm better prepared and ready to enjoy it as best I can.
What food and drink do you have on hand for Snowmageddon 2010?