It’s been a jolly morning. I got that rare treat from my family — sleeping in on a school day. Alan woke up chirping at 6:55 a.m., so I let him feed the livestock, etc. Then I open the laptop for my morning run and find this gem, from Roy:
If Obama gets the nomination, we’ll get Willie Horton II (and possibly III, IV, and infinity); if Clinton gets it, the position papers of the opposition will resemble the taunting letters-to-the-editor of serial killers of prostitutes, and if Edwards wins they will all be written by the Club for Growth and Mr. Burns from “The Simpsons.”
It gave me the familiar feeling of laughing through tears, because I thought what I always think: Is there any way ink-on-paper opinion-mongering will ever catch up with the web? (Answer: No.) But at least I was laughing. And then Amy, careful reader of the morning fishwrap in my ex-home, sent this, from the (Fort Wayne) Journal Gazette:
Input gathered at two public forums will help the Three Rivers Festival eventually become a nationally recognized event like Mardi Gras, Burning Man or Taste of Chicago, according to Shannon White, the festival’s executive director.
I can see it now: Two San Francisco hipsters, planning their summer. “If we do it right, we can make the Three Rivers Festival in July, and still have plenty of time to recover before Burning Man on Labor Day weekend.” The non-profits there haven’t lost their sense of humor, at least in public statements.
Whew. OK. Friday. Around 10 last night, the rain stopped, the wind picked up and the temperature started to fall. It’s now 19 degrees, and we’re promised single digits, maybe even below, over the weekend. Think I’ll shoot some video down at the lake. The ice probably won’t be safe, but it’ll be pretty. Hard to imagine the death grip of winter was once so predictable here that rumrunners made winter ice part of their business plan. It’d have to be a long, deep cold snap before I’d set foot on river ice, and we just don’t have those anymore.
Cold snaps, while miserable and sometimes terrifying, do give you good stories. I endured the back-to-back horrors of the ’76-’78 winters in college in southeast Ohio, normally a place touched by the balmy breezes of the south — forsythia in February is more or less par for the course there. But for one awful week, I walked to class in minus-20 temperatures, and that’s without the wind chill, a truly baffling weather glitch. One year, early in my Indiana residency, I went to Michigan City for Super Bowl weekend, in similar cold. The car-starting chore was story enough, but the thing I remember about that night, driving home, was the otherworldly city as I pulled into town. It was early on a Sunday night, but the streets were deserted (and not just because people were watching the game). The discharge from thousands of furnaces billowed up as plumes of vapor, and the salt-stained pavement looked like the road to hell. (I’m on the ice side of the fire/ice question, yes.)
I spotted a lone figure, the only human being I’d seen outside for miles, trudging up a driveway in the distance. As I caught up, I could see it wasn’t a residential house, but a massage parlor. I’m sure the girls were working that night, loneliness being perhaps the one thing that could drive a man outside in weather like that.
Tell me a cold-weather story, while I warm my hands over the keyboard. And have a good weekend.