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It has been an unusually cold fall this year. Having lived in the Midwest as long as I have (read: my entire life), I have become one of Those People who can get into heated discussions about weather and who has lived through the worst weather in their lives. Also, I always win.
With people around me lately complaining about the cold weather and the threat of snow flurries and OMG the world will end if it snows in October, I find myself constantly working very hard to resist the urge to trot out the story of The Great Halloween Blizzard of 1991.
1991 was the last year I went trick-or-treating. I dressed up as a clown, as I did many years late in my trick-or-treating career, because I had learned that if I kept my candy bucket relatively empty (by stashing bags of candy in the belly of my clown costume), then people would give me extra candy. I didn’t care much about the candy, and in fact have always preferred popcorn to sweets, but gosh darn-it I was going to get the MOST candy and WIN, because that is just how I was. How I am. Whatever, moving on.
It had already started snowing pretty heavily by the time I set out with my friend Dana, but we were not going to let a little thing like a blizzard keep us from collecting as much candy as we could carry. We lived in a suburb best described as something like a colorized 50’s sitcom. The matching houses just went on and on and on. I’m pretty sure we walked further and hit more houses that year than any other year. I remember falling over into the snow to lie down and catch our breath from the effort of hiking through unplowed streets and up un-shoveled sidewalks, all in the name of a few more peanut butter cups.
By midnight more than eight inches of snow had fallen, and by the time the snow finally stopped there was over twenty-eight inches of snow blanketing the city. Duluth, Minnesota, which got hit the hardest, got nearly forty. When the snowplows finally got to our cul-de-sac I remember the snow pile in the middle being positively EPIC, and the yards were waist deep in snow. It was awesome, mostly because I wasn’t old enough to drive, or run the snow blower, or scrape off car windshields. Pretty much my only responsibility resulting from that blizzard was to play with the neighborhood kids and build forts and snowmen and slides while all of our parents huffed and puffed and spent hours clearing the driveways and sidewalks.
I totally got the better end of that deal. And I might even still have some of that candy around somewhere.