We were without power for 24 hours � no heat, no coffee, no television. During the daylight hours we played gin rummy, and that's when I tried to deal the cards with gloved hands.
Believe me, it didn't work!
Towards evening the house grew chillier and chillier. It also got darker, despite the flickering glow from the kerosene lamp which made Phyllis homesick.
"Until we got an Alladin Lamp, that's the only light we had," she said nostalgically.
"I read by Big Little Books by it," she remembered, "and I studied by it, too."
(If I had a violin, I would have played background music for her sad reminiscences.)
Anyhow, I blew out the lamp, and we went to bed early to stay warm. Even then I had to search for more blankets to cover me up. Now I know how Eskimos must feel in their igloos!
As I shivered through the chilly night, I got to thinking about other times when I got so cold. I couldn't go to sleep, and I didn't have anything else to do.
My memories then went back to a World War II night problem in Texas. I was an infantry non-com, and it was a training maneuver. I got so cold that my chill-blains had chill-blains!
I burrowed into an abandoned haystack to try to withstand the southern weather which was supposed to be so mild. The South Dakota kid's teeth were chattering in the marrow-chilling climate. I've hated Texas ever since.
Another time was in Chicago, the Windy City. I was standing next to the Tribune Tower when a bitter blast came off of Lake Michigan � and I wasn't dressed for it. I got frigid under my covers just thinking about it.
There was no snow in Candlestick Park in San Francisco, and somehow they were playing baseball down on the foggy field. But up in the stands where I was, a glacial atmosphere prevailed. I thought I would freeze to death, and the concessionaire was selling ice cold beer!
I wasn't wearing the right kind of clothes then either!
(If Phyllis knew my thoughts, she could have gotten even with me � if she had symphonic strings in her cozy nest.)
All these things came back to me as I lay shivering under five or six blankets in my twin bed. I looked over at my wife, and she seemed toasty-like when I was so icy.
Oh, I've been colder, but these three incidents stick out in my mind. At least they did that frigid night.
It was with great joy that the power came back on at 10:30 a.m. while we were eating breakfast elsewhere. Phyllis's cats � Baxter and Bailey � were especially glad to have heat again.
(Come to think of it, no wonder she was so warm. They were under the blankets with her.)
Needless to say, I'll never forget the Great Blizzard of '05. And I won't play cards with gloves on either!
� 2005 Robert F. Karolevitz