Friday, January 30, 2009

Remembrance of snows past

Well, as long as we're coping with and reminiscing about great freezes and snows, past and present, here's a memory of mine that one of the people in the picture might get a kick out of :

There's no snow in this picture. It's outside, cancelling our flights.

Thousands of us were camped out inside the St. Louis airport starting on December 20th (I think?), 1973, a few hours into what would be our Adventure, brought to us by The Christmas Blizzard of '73. There being very little to do, I took some photos with my trusty Instamatic.

The college's chartered bus got us there around darkfall, and we quickly learned that every flight had been cancelled.

Most of us were there for at least 2 days and nights. I got out at about 2 o'clock in the morning of December 23rd. I was so numb i'm not sure of dates but I am sure it was my third night. I slept for about 18 hours when I got home, without missing Christmas, so I'm pretty sure the dates were 20th-23rd, but I could be off by a day.

The young woman in the background wearing a red sweater (not the one in red lying down in the foreground), fighting a migraine, is my roommate, Ellen -- who is reading this post! Hi, Ellen! A memorable freshman year, eh?

I don't miss it. Nope. Don't miss it at all.


Sherwood Harrington said...

Hey! I remember that Christmas '73 weather-engendered continental transit clusterf*ck!

I was newly-divorced, footloose, fancy-etc., and booked a flight on the spur of the moment from Oakland to NYC (for an astronomy conference, supposedly...) and, after a few days, from NYC to Binghamton to visit the 'rents.

Nightmares. All the way around.

My first flight got to NYC's airspace just fine, but after a few hours' circling we diverted to Boston to land and refuel. And take off. And circle 'round JFK for a whole lot longer. I don't remember exactly how long it was, but I do remember that, on that flight, I read The Godfather cover-to-cover twice. And I ain't no Evelyn Wood.

After the few days in NYC (sleeping on a couch in a living room with the worst-tempered cat I've ever met in my life), I caught the propeller puddle-jumper that was supposed to take me over the Catskills to Binghamton... but, damn-all, the weather closed down the Binghamton airport and we had to land farther on west, in Elmira. I rode back to Binghamton with six other passengers in a cab, in the middle of the front seat, with my knees clamped around the meter, which ultimately registered more money than I made in a month at that time.

All of that, and the greatest disappointment and frustration I remember from that '73 Odyssey is this: That damn' cat wasn't what I had expected to share the couch with. If you catch my drift.

Nostalgic for the Pleistocene said...

Good grief, that sounds worse than my trip. I'd say, hospitality once you got to NY sounds woefully inadequate!

My travel book was The Joyous Season, by Patrick Dennis, and somewhere i still have my copy with confirmation codes and toll-free airline numbers (We could get more info from headquarters than we could from people there in the airport, though waits for pay phones were as bad as the lines for the desks) scrawled all over it.

ronnie said...

Bless you both! Believe it or not, your stories are truly helping to keep our spirits up at Casa Ronniecat as we brace for what's next: 30-40cm (12-15in) of snow predicted for Tuesday... But at least we're not traveling!!!

PS: Sherwood, how do you know that cat wasn't bad-tempered because you had messed up his plans? Did you happen to notice a chic tabby across the hall who usually was invited in for a daily visit except when Apartment-dweller was entertaining guests? Hmm?

PS: Clusterf*ck is my new favourite word for ever and ever. Rarely do words so overwhelmingly convey a sentiment.

Sherwood Harrington said...

... and, ronnie, it does so without causing Ruth's cuss-o-meter to go up!

Good thought about the cat. I still don't remember him fondly, though.