It snowed last week. Like, really snowed. 16 inches of the stuff.
I’d say that, in my five years as a Pennsylvanian, this is the first snowstorm that reminded me of Minnesota. Of home. It hasn’t snowed much since we’ve moved here in 2015. It might have snowed once or twice last winter. There wasn’t enough to go sledding, I remember that.
And there. I’m two paragraphs in and it seems like I’m blogging about the weather. Of all the things to publish on the internet. It might be very Minnesotan to tell you about the weather. I don’t know. I’ve only lived in two places. The Twin Cities and State College, PA. I’m not what the youngsters might call worldly.
Still, I can say this with utmost certainty: My back is killing me. It took three rounds of shoveling to clean off the driveway. The last push was particularly painful. Four hours of lifting thick snow. Wet snow. Angry snow. My wrists might be broken.
Here’s something else I know with certainty. And this knowledge probably does come from my life in Minnesota. It is a truth universally acknowledged that, the moment you finish shoveling, the snowplow comes around the corner and barricades your driveway with icy chunks of heavy snow.
I bet you thought I was going to finish the previous sentence differently. What am I, Jane Austen? No. No I am not. I’m just a Minnesota boy living through a winter in Central Pennsylvania blogging about the weather.
I used to project heartiness when I talked about winter in Pennsylvania. I’d scoff when my fellow Pennsylvanians complained about the weather. The thermometer would hit 15 degrees and it was a national emergency. I’d go outside in my speedo and laugh at them.
I don’t actually own a speedo.
And the school closings! A single snowflake would fall on Beaver stadium, and Centre County would declare a snow emergency. I couldn’t believe the the number of snow days when I first came out here. Why, when I was your age, I’d set out to school with a windchill of -40 ripping through my gonads.
That bravado is long gone now. And I can even name the moment it died.
Some friends invited me to the Penn State / Wisconsin football game a few years back. It was a Saturday morning in December. We pregamed. I drank Coffee and Mimosas. A friend dropped our small party off about a mile from the stadium to avoid traffic. We walked from there. I wore a light jacket.
“You’re going to freeze, Sam,” they told me.
I laughed a great Minnesotan laugh.
“Wimps,” I smirked.
Foolish pride. My body began to shutdown before we hit the stadium. By the end of the game, I was entering the final stages of hypothermia. My friends eyed me with scorn and contempt. I flew too close to the sun. And the sun won.
About flying too close to the sun: Did you know that I can play Kid Icarus on my Nintendo Switch? I figured out how to access Nintendo Online last week. Talk about exciting.
And that might be one of the most ADHD turns one of these blogs has taken. Oh well.
Anyway, all of this is to say that I no longer bluster about my ability to handle the winter. The tropical climate of Pennsylvania has changed me.
I guess this is about as close to being a weather blogger as I’ll come. I wonder if AccuWeather would hire me. Did you know AccuWeather is based in State College? A few years ago, before the world ended, I helped lead an improv workshop for their employees. That was when it was still okay to spit all over each other. Those days are long gone.
The boys were ecstatic about the blizzard. Sledding. Snowmen. Hot chocolate. We did all of it. I enjoyed watching the snow accumulate. Felt like childhood.
And so winter is upon us out here in State College, Pennsylvania. And I’ve just written an entire blog about it. This is how many conversation start in Minnesota.
“You get any snow?”
And then you go from there. There are worse things to talk about. The state of democracy in these United States being one. So, instead, a blog about the weather.