Thursday, February 05, 2009
Snow Memory - Blizzard of '77
I grew up in Western NY. When we were not inventing Buffalo Wings and eating Beef On Weck, our downtime was spent surviving blizzards. I found a cool video of the Blizzard of ’77 – a legendary storm that paralyzed the region for several weeks.
I remember getting out of school early that day. My sister and her friend came to get me on a snowmobile (which they had done before) but the teacher wouldn’t let me go that time (something about the words “irresponsible” and “insurance liability”). When I got on the school bus the sky was blue. By the time I reached Althea Street the sky had turned into a hurricane made of ice.
Walking home was the hardest part. The wind kept pushing me aside and backwards. I had my parka hood pulled over my face and kept a peephole open at my chin. At the time it seemed exciting to fall over as I tried to move forward (a premonition of junior year and red plastic cups).
Everyone at my house had to take turns sweeping the snowdrifts away from the front door. Worse, we had to sweep the roof to keep it from caving in. On one of my turns with the shovel and broom I saw a pheasant slam into Spot’s doghouse. Red head, long tail – everything you would expect in a reasonable pheasant. These birds usually hide in the forests and fields, away from people and neighborhoods. They do not land in yards. That is why I can’t forget it.
The pheasant shook off the hard landing like it was in a cartoon, with dizzy stars over its’ head. A second later the wind grabbed that bird and threw it out of sight, and pitched all 9 years of me against the porch. Pheasants used to taste good until that happened.
I know it’s crazy to admit, but to this day I question the whereabouts of that bird. If you or a friend you know is a pheasant from Niagara County during the Blizzard of ‘77, please get in touch with me about the last 32 years of your life. Thanks much.