Saturday, January 28, 2017

HOW I SPEND COLD JANUARY...

A JANUARY EVENING...
    I love old books, and January is the time when I can vegetate and read through some of them again--perhaps with more deliberation than I did before. 
   Some January books I choose from off my shelves were bought and read by me when I was very young. Last week, for instance, I boated down the Mississippi River once again with Mark Twain, via "My Life on the Mississippi," his writings of his days as a Mississippi River pilot.
    I was a young teenager when I read that book the first of many times. It had been presented to me by a teacher who realized I was a fan of Twain and was aware that he had been a journalist, a career I planned to follow. 
    In that well-read book last week, inside the frontispiece, I rediscovered the short and simple poem written by me on the day my father died, when I was just 14. I haven't read that poem aloud to anyone but Bob, my husband. It makes me cry; even after all these years.
   Tonight as January wanes, a book I've taken off the shelf to read again is "Stephen Ambrose: To America: Personal Reflections of An Historian." I'll finish that book before the month is over, because then we're facing February, the month when Bob and I will happily immerse ourselves in garden books and seed catalogs.

    Yes, that's when garden-planning time arrives and Bob prepares to start his early plants from seed, under grow-lights in the lower level of our home.  
    (I guess I didn't tell you... I married Mr. Green Jeans.)

    Now I wonder ...  How do YOU spend January? 

(Rose Moore, who retired from journalism in April 2016, can be reached at randrmoore@gmail.com. Your comments are welcome).

Thursday, January 26, 2017

ON THIS DAY... Remembering the great storm of 1978...

    WARM JANUARIES in Ohio can make some people nervous; at least if they experienced first-hand the great winter storm of 1978. That landmark storm was preceded by such unusually warm weather as we have experienced here in the January 2017. 
    Dubbed by weather people as a "Hurricane With Snow," the storm blew in with a vengeance on January 26 of 1978. Minimal in snowfall, at least compared to the 1950 blizzard, this monster was characterized by its explosive entry with Category 3 hurricane-force winds which created mountainous drifting.
    Air pressure fell to 28.28--the lowest ever in Ohio at the time--and temperatures plunged by 30 degrees in the first two hours. The  U. S. Mail service stopped for the first time since 1950, and the full length of the Ohio turnpike, as well as  transportation, business, industry and schools, closed statewide.
    THE PRE-STORM THREAT had been well-defined by weather people, and schools were prudently "pre-closed," but citizens were disbelieving in the midst of spring-like rains. I was one of the "disbelievers."  
    Sometime between 3 and 4 a.m., I got out of bed to let a restless dog outside. As I returned to bed,  I mumbled to my husband, "It's raining. Way too warm for snow. Where's the storm?" As if on cue, the wind and cold howled in with startling force, covering our windows instantly with ice.
    For days and nights, it didn't seem the wind would ever stop. It screamed and shook our homes without relief, and neither animal nor human could sleep in peace. "You have to wonder how long a house can stand this," a normally stalwart neighbor said to me.
    Blue lightning slashed back and forth from snapped power lines. Damage from wind was widespread, with signs blown down, windows broken, and communications disrupted. The air was full of storm-propelled debris. A massive crane at the Perry Power Plant was toppled ...
    As with many such emergencies, comfort came in the form of people helping people. For travelers caught in perilous conditions, civilians came with snowmobiles to aid in rescue. Private homes were opened for stranded strangers, and neighbors checked on neighbors. In a nearby county, one town had been embroiled in a road-workers' strike, and volunteers drove in to offer help in the emergency; there was more help offered than there were pieces of equipment for the work. (If I recall correctly, the workers too returned for the duration).
    Governor Rhodes sent out the National Guard with people, 4WD vehicles, ambulances, road graders and bulldozers. When that was not enough, President Jimmy Carter declared Ohio a Federal Disaster Area, sending federal troops and the entire 18th Airborne Corps from Fort Bragg. He added heavy equipment, personnel carriers and fuel tankers ...
    THIS BITTER STORM had come during a string of record-breaking winters. Another dangerous January blizzard had occurred just one year before, almost to the day, on January 28, 1977. In that year, we had so many other problems that the storm seemed almost like an after-thought to many people.  
    It had been a winter of  extreme and unrelenting cold. The Ohio river had made its own weather history by freezing shore-to-shore.   Serious natural gas shortages had led to periodic and rotating shutdown of factories. Recession was looming... With the blizzard, our schools and stores were merely added to the list of closures. 
    Here, too, help was needed from National Guard, police, firefighters and citizens; and as always, that help was freely given. Even the international high-wire walker Karl Wallenda had found his courage tested. He was driving on Route 2 in Lake County, travelling to perform in Mentor, when his car spun out of control. Fortunately he survived without injury, and when he recovered his wits, he would tell news people that, "I have never been so nervous on the high wire as I was that day during the blizzard in Lake County."
    AN INTERNATIONAL THEORY emerged earlier that year at a meeting in London--not of global warming but of a gradual return to the Ice Age. It scared our school kids. "Just wait," we reassured them. "In 15 or 20 years, someone will say the world is on its way to destruction by heat! Weather cycles come and go. " (We were not believed).
    Those same climate  people would later promote their theory as "Global Warming" and even later call it  "Climate Change" and "Climate Disruption" to explain the back-and-forth cyclical nature of the climate.
    In the meantime, let's just say, "The more things change, the more things stay the same." We have not seen our last great winter blizzard.
    Weather is weather; and if it were completely stable, we would not need our weather forecasters.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

MARCH FOR WOMEN? NOT FOR ALL ...


Yesterday (1-21-2017), we saw the huge crowds of women marching "for their rights" in DC and throughout the country. The speakers were mostly celebrities--including Madonna, who shared her dreams of "blowing up the White House."

What you DIDN'T see were the huge number of American women who prefer to think and speak for themselves; not in crowds; not in crowd-speak; not with profane words and signs; not for the TV cameras... And not JUST for women!