This blizzard was our third biggest, but it’s already my second favorite. Nothing can beat 1967. We played “King of the Hill” on the mound in front of my house for three days.
The 1999 snowathon was almost as big but had very bad timing. It hit the first day of school after a looong Christmas break. When our kids were invited over by friends, my wife and I attacked the waist-high snow, hoping play dates would turn into sleepovers.
This year, I prepared for the snowstorm by watching “Doctor Zhivago.” I had never seen a colder, snowier movie. At one point, Dr. Z and his loved ones are living in a house that has snow and ice on the inside.
So, when snow blew in through cracks around windows and doors, I remained calm. The white stuff also penetrated my garage. It’s freaky to see summer things like tiki torches and golf clubs swathed in snow. It can’t be good for the lawnmower.
Like 1999, the timing of this storm wasn’t good, unless you appreciate irony. Two of our adult kids had just moved out days before but couldn’t get back to their new digs. So, the storm had us all huddling under one roof.
By Feb. 2, though, I was through huddling and determined to see my shadow. I took a brisk walk to the post office.
When I got there, it was closed. In fact, most businesses were closed. The taverns were even dark, though liquor stores were still supplying essential services. I spoke with one hearty businessman who had opened that morning. He declared that there are no snow days for anyone above the age of 12 and that if he were running the post office, it would be open.
Turning for home, I encountered “shovel parties” that broke out in the middle of streets. I also spoke with a man hiking over the Circle Bridge, who marveled at the quiet: no expressway roar or street traffic and no jets overhead.
Lots of kids were making noise, though. One little boy was running around in a red cape. Even Superman was grounded.
Super strength was on display everywhere, though, with people digging out parking places and pushing stuck cars. Good Samaritans were a growing demographic. We even got in on the act: We were finally able to shovel our neighbor’s snow, after all the times he cleared ours.
The snow thrilled our neighbors from Idaho. They took their toddler cross-country skiing. It’s not often you see a 10-month-old wearing ski goggles.
Finally, the frivolity ended when the family cars were freed and the kids headed to their respective homes. We thought our fun was over, until we got a call asking us to excavate a car from a drift blocking the driveway to someone’s new home.
John Rice is a columnist/private detective, who has seen his business and family thrive in Forest Park. He thoroughly enjoys life in the village and still gets a thrill smelling Red Hots, watching softball and strolling through cemeteries.