Saturday, January 22, 2011

Nanook of the North II: Another Big Snowstorm Calls the Village Idiot. Again, He Goes Out to Play in the Snow.

No, it wasn't a blizzard.  But it was a biggie storm, with heavy snow.  And, of course, she was whispering in my ear, "Georgie boy, Georgie boy, won't you come out and play with me?".

It was a Friday morning, early. I'm talking about yesterday as I write this. As usual, I was up at five  reading The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal  while sipping black coffee and filling up on half a bagel and half an orange.

I was conflicted over two loves. No,  NOT my wife and my girl friend. Where IS your head, my friend?  It was about tennis or playing in the snow.  I was due on the indoor court at 7:30 but the snow outside was piling up -- and there was that soft, sexy siren call in my ear.

Then the telephone call came. My 7:30 a.m. tennis was canceled because of the big snowstorm. Bummer and yeah. Nothing is more fault-free and liberating than having your mind made up for you.

Notwithstanding  a couple of days of radio and TV news  delivering nonstop storm advisories telling people the big storm would be a dangerous one and to stay home, despite the warnings of my loving wife,  I flew out the door into the scene below.

Remember last time after I made my way on foot to the Donut Cafe only to have Lisa Walker imply that I was some kind of idiot?  Well, would you believe, she put me down again, only differently. Again it was not intentional and when she realized she had done it again, she clamped her hands on her mouth. I'll fill you in on the  sordid details later.

Of course, as gently as I could, I called her on it.  I suggested that she did not have to put me down every time I stepped, covered in snow, into the Donut Cafe.

I believe I got through to her. Perhaps she now realizes that I am a human being, with feelings, and who is actually easily hurt. Do I put her down? No.

Unfortunately, she was not the only one having fun at my expense. Larry Collins, a regular longterm customer, also chimed in.  Here he is sitting in the Donut Cafe smiling and looking like a friendly nice guy.

You won't believe what he called me and he said it with a big smile on his face.  And you know what was the worst thing about it?  It was clever and funny, actually hilarious. I had to laugh.  The guy got me laughing at myself!  How mean is that?

But guess what?  I have a photo of the two of them, Big L(Lisa) and Little L(Larry), together, showing exactly what goes on with the two of them during working hours at the Donut Cafe.  I'm going to publish the photo right here, later.  It's called payback.

For now, though, let's get back to the storm with photos  showing its awesome beauty and people coping with all the snow. 

Huge plows were out in force.  In fact, in order to open up the streets, the plows had to effectively take over the streets.  Walking at the height of the storm, I had to repeatedly climb up on snowbanks to get out of the way of huge snowplows.

The drivers, all of whom seemed to be talking on cell phones, are highly skilled.  They have to be.  They have enough power at their disposal to  do all kinds of damage, even crushing cars unseen behind huge snowbanks.  Here are big plows out  taking on the storm.

Slowly, with schools and many businesses closed, people began emerging from their homes with shovels  and snow blowers.  No one is out for a walk like me.  They are out to work. For them, a big snowstorm is serious. For me, it's fun.

Of course, if I had to get somewhere and couldn't get my car out of the driveway, as is the case in the photo below, then it wouldn't be fun.   But I just left my cars covered in snow in the driveway and went for a walk. I would worry about them later. My snowstorm motto: fun first, serious stuff later.

Later always comes sooner or later.  By the time I got back, it was to a home thoroughly snowed in. The photo shows two cars in the driveway  buried under a snow mantle.

Did I say that I was going to get serious after my wonderful walk? I lied. The truth is I love shoveling snow almost as much as walking in it. I consider it also play. I spent the next hour or so shoveling out and Barbara came out and joined me. By the time we were finished, I had actually worked up a sweat and felt like I had had a great workout. And the "work" had been done.

It had been a great snowstorm!  What a January, nearly two feet of snow! And forecasts are for a "high-impact" snowstorm as early as next week, with heavy snow and high winds. I can't wait.   Bring it on! Nanook of the North Part 111 coming up?

Oh, almost forgot, that little matter of  Lisa  and Larry putting me down and my payback.  First, the bright side.  When I walked in, Lisa was happy to see me.  She apologized for implying when I came in during the Blizzard of 2011 that I was the village idiot.

She said that, for her penitence, my coffee was on her. She said that she loved my last story and we laughed about it. And besides the free coffee, she threw in free raisin toast.  Everything was good between us.

Also seemingly positive, Larry, who sat directly across from me, was friendly and displayed a ready wit and sense of humor.  You saw that beguiling smile of his in the photo of him earlier.  We got to talking.

He is a teacher at Worcester Tech and has deep roots in Worcester, living in the same neighborhood where his parents and grandparents lived before him.  "Where I live," he said, "we have four houses that are all family."

He and his wife have a son and two daughters. His son went to Worcester Tech and at 17 was signed to a professional baseball contract by the Toronto Blue Jays and has been moving up fast in the minor leagues  He is a southpaw pitcher who is "this close" to playing in the majors, according to Larry.

Larry thinks that will happen this summer. "Then he will go from $2,000 a month to a minimum of  $400,000 a year -- at 21," he said.

One of his daughters will soon be joining him as a teacher at Worcester Tech. "You'll be colleagues," I said. "How unusual, how nice."   He agreed. He said they will be working at different ends of the school, so father and daughter will each have professional space.

Amidst all this nice chitchat, Lisa noticed my sweater.  Designed and hand-made by my daughter Misha, it had a big fish on the front along with my last name in big letters, P-O-L-L-O-C-K.  "So you're a Po-LACK," Lisa said.

I gave her a grave look.  Her hand went to her mouth.

When I was a kid, I got into fights when other kids pronounced my name Po-LACK .  As calmly as I could, I carefully instructed her on the correct pronunciation of my name.

"If this keeps up, pretty soon you'll be getting a free lunch," Larry said with a sly smile.

Lisa quickly moved to make it up to me. "From now on, you're a VIP," she said. "You get the VIP spot, VIP service, everything."

"VIP," Larry said. "Village Idiot Po-LACK." 

Coming suddenly from nowhere, delivered offhandedly with a disarming grin, I laughed. I couldn't help it.  And soon all three of us were laughing.  "Larry, you wise guy," I said. "That was too clever and too funny. There's going to be payback."

And now, drum roll please, the promised payback to both Lisa and Larry.  Here is a photo showing exactly what goes on between them during work hours at the Donut Cafe.  Tell me, do you see any work going on here?

So long and keep moving.

P.S. I have a confession to make.  During the Blizzard of 2011, I took a spill.  On this latest outing, I took another one. Luckily I was not hurt. Both times it was on a down grade and I fell backwards.  During the next big snowstorm, I am determined not to fall.  If I do, Lisa and Larry, the coffee's on me.


NOTE: My novel, State Kid: Hero of Literacy is now a Google E- book.

Billy Stone was a foster child.

He ran away from abuse.

He went to juvenile prison.

He went up from there.

And he did it his way.

With the power of the written word.