Monday, January 21, 2013

The Blizzard Birthday: 1978

Dear John,
I've been thinking back over some past birthdays, and there's always one that jumps out - 1978, your 22nd birthday.
Remember? It was the blizzard of 1978. You and I managed to get to school in time for the new semester, but so many people didn't that they delayed the start for a week. Since no classes had met yet, we didn't have textbooks, syllabi, or anything to do for classes. They gave us weekend open house hours, and we all just had fun. Larry had this tiny television with Pong on it, and that provided hours of entertainment. And it made your dorm room the social center. Becky and I came over, since Kyle lived two doors down, and Mike and Tom were there, and a couple of others whose names I don't remember now.
The parking lots were kept plowed - I have a photo of my VW bug with snow three feet deep over the top of it. There was no getting out of the parking lots. So we ate in the cafeteria, then they ran out of everything but water and powdered eggs. After 24 hours of that, helicopters came and dropped food onto the soccer field and the menu got better.
Then your birthday came. And it was still snowing. We all had a bit of cabin fever by then, and we were determined to walk two blocks down to Pizza King for your birthday dinner. I remember that the sidewalk was snow-packed, with walls of snow up to my sholders on both sides. There was a heavy snow that night, so we went single-file down those sidewalks, each one hanging on to the back of the parka in front, and we made it there in a little over half an hour. It took longer to get back, since it was uphill. It was an adventure, and it was great to get out of the dorm complex for the first time in a week.
That winter broke snow and temperature records, and we wondered if the snow piles in the church parking lot would be melted by May 20th for our wedding. They were, but barely. That has become the winter by which I measure all other winters. And it was a birthday party of necessity, but a good time.
Those are good memories. And I'll always remember the Ron/John/Josh birthday party we had here last night. You were a part of it for everybody. They are very sad that you're not here, and they do a good job of looking after me. And the animals are still worn out from yesterday, which is good since I've had this killer headache for 26 hours now. I did sleep well last night, and think I will again. This kind of headache is exhausting.
You have no more headaches, no more blizzards, and I suppose no more birthdays, either. But as your birthday comes around, please do remember to pray for Becky, and look Kyle up if you're not together. I'd forgotten that he died on your 37th birthday. So you and Kyle remember that January 20th in 1978 and have a good laugh about it, then pray for your wives who love you, and long to be with you.
Forever married to you,


  1. Thank you, Joan. I so remember that winter--a lot of fun, in spite of the cold! Ironic, isn't it, these anniversaries of so many different things. I hope John and Kyle are enjoying one another's company--and looking after their wives. Love you.