In case you’ve missed the nightly news, or in case Texas hasn’t even made it to the national news level (likely because we’re too Republican), we’ve been muddling through Ice-Capades 2013. In a turn of unlikely events, it’s December 8th, and we’ve already experienced TWO winter storm warnings! This is not normal. There are always some native Texans who claim, “oh this is normal, this is Texas-anything goes,” to you I say-WRONG! Yesterday the highest temperature measured was 27 degrees. The lowest high on record here…ever.
Now, I am a Midwestern girl by blood and have several Midwestern friends…so I know you are all like “whoa…27….brrrrr” (sarcastically whilst shoveling your snow in short sleeves and flip-flops). And as I watched my rude neighbors attempt to remove the ice from their hybrids with their bare hands, without turning their cars on, I laughed to myself and sipped my pumpkin coffee…recalling the good old days I spent in Iowa where…
1. I once climbed all the way through my Chevrolet Celebrity station wagon in a mall parking lot, because all of the locks were frozen.
2. I endured and lived to tell about a 360 turn on the highway, while riding with a friend home from college. To top it off-said friend may or may not have done drugs before that drive home-a fact naive 21-year-old me was oblivious to until much later. (Moral of that story-don’t do drugs and/or drive on icy highways).
3. The sheer force of bitterly cold Northern Iowa wind trapped me in many a wind tunnel on my college campus…while on lookers laughed and smoked their cigs (yes, that used to be allowed on the grounds of state schools). I’m not exaggerating. Me in the wind, JanSport on, trying to move, but unable to. And once, I was completely turned around by a wind gust. I was either 20 pounds lighter, or it was the full JanSport’s fault, or both!
4. I have walked to school and back in blowing snow up to my knees. True story.
5. I returned from Christmas break one year, to find my CC station wagon LITERALLY covered in 2 feet of snow. It looked like someone built a snowcar.
6. My college cancelled class twice in the whole time I went there. Once during my freshman year and once in my Senior year.
That was the year our city ran out of salt in mid-Spring. The year that we didn’t see the Earth from November until late April. The year it snowed right before Spring finals…and I cried. The year of the dead squirrel. The year I moved to Texas.
College students are all busy….too busy and stressed and poor to do anything but be busy and stressed and poor. (Now, as adults, we all know that, that really means their lives are carefree and joyous and filled with faux busyness and stressfulness, but they don’t know that yet). College students are waaaaay too busy to do things like change their oil or buy shovels for the impending winter. So when you live in a Midwestern college town and it happens to be an extra snowy winter, it will also be a winter fraught icy sidewalks. The winter of 2000, was just this. We ice skated and shuffled the two blocks to campus every day for 5 months. Sometimes you’d see someone walking, but they would immediately end up on the ground.
On my walk to school, right past the little red bricked church, immortalized in the ice, was a squirrel. Dead. Tummy up. Claws out, as if it had been about to pounce on something right when it died. He lived on the sidewalk that entire winter…with the ice that we overly busy, poor, and stressed out pre-Facebook college students simply could not shovel.
That was also the winter of practical jokes.
So a few weeks later, I discovered that same dead squirrel, fangs out, teeth bared, glaring at me glassy eyed from a Walmart bag stuffed precariously in our mailbox. After a good laugh from my roommates and me, his royal deadness was then thrown by the chief joke player, into our bushes to be discovered later that Spring by an unfortunate gang of do-gooder youth, cleaning up our neighborhood. We wrote a song, we sang it at parties, and we will always remember Dead Squirrel.
So, Ice-Capades 2013, has been fun (?) and it’s been real, and for the stranded motorists (i.e. crazies who thought Texas ice was passable) it’s been an ordeal. And if climate change is legit (which I’m beginning to believe it is), Texans might get to tell more stories of lost power and being snowed in and salt-rotted underbodies of cars and small frozen rodents. But for now, it’s all in a Midwesterner’s day’s work.