I always get a kick out of reading Wall Street Journal’s Magazine. I recall reading one published the weekend of April 4-5.
Of course, nothing in the magazine resembles anything we denizens of the Northeast have to endure in any given winter. Nothing is dark, dank or bleak in that magazine.
The magazine’s beautiful full-color, warm-wind-is-blowing-the-sand-in-your-hair journalism from a place shamelessly comfortable stands in stark contrast to about 100 percent of the mid-winter outdoor experiences a typical resident of the Northeast endures.
As I write this, in mid-April, outside is a balmy 63 degrees. Even until very recently it wasn’t this way.
The weather historians around here tell us the 2015 February-March time period was the worst low-temperature monthly tandem in history in this part of the country.
White-knuckle, death-defying trips back and forth, each day, Monday through Friday, from Dauphin County to Berks County places me in mind of exactly how much personal character I have since developed.
There is nothing quite like traveling through blizzard conditions at night on a major highway with no lights (Route 222) or in conditions where rain freezes on top of impacted snow. Being terrorized every time some fool barrels down the passing lane at 70 miles an hour under conditions that the word “dangerous” can’t adequately describe.
I can’t recall all of the numerous accidents, but I remember a few. I can remember, one day, when I was stalled for quite a few hours from going to work in Berks County, and had to pull into a Weis supermarket parking lot to catch up to work on my laptop, because traffic was stalled everywhere because of so many accidents. Or the one day where two major truck accidents completed blocked traffic on both sides of Route 222.
Or the day a hay truck was jackknifed against a median near Sinking Spring, blocking traffic southbound. I would look at these accidents and think, what the heck were the drivers thinking?
I don’t recall any fatal accidents, but man, there were plenty of fender-benders.
There is a particular kind of hell unique only to those who live and work in southeast Pennsylvania in the worst weather conditions since records were kept, dating to about 1889. Having to travel through those conditions, and being able to tell the tale, brings an honor, like old soldiers bragging about their war wounds.
We have our stories of travesty and honor, heroics and derring-do.
Mine just come with very white knuckles that I am still trying to peel away from the steering wheel.