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Winter Storm Watch? Let's Go Krogering!
By Gloria Diaz
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Fort Wayne Reader
Fort Wayne has been described as the fattest city in America, and the dumbest city in America. Can we add “wimpiest” to the list?
I say this because Thanksgiving weekend, several people were out in full force at the park where I take my dog walking. Walking their dogs, biking, skating, playing on the swings, it was almost like a Norman Rockwell scene brought to life.
All that disappeared the Sunday after Thanksgiving. At about 4:30 p.m. I drove over to the park. It was at the close of a sunny, but cold day. I figured I’d have the park to myself. I was almost right. The only other person out there was a guy (sensibly bundled up in what looked like a Carhartt jacket, hat and scarf) walking along the same path as we were. The wind had picked up, and with the clear sky meant that the walk was a bit on the chilly side. Okay, I admit it: it was downright cold.
But does that really surprise anyone? This IS after all, northern Indiana. People seem to forget that in December, January and February, we’re subjected to cold temperatures, occasional snow and at least one ice storm. And if there are any words that put the fear of God into the locals, those would be “winter storm watch.” Mind you, the operative word is “watch.” A “watch” is different from a “warning,” but tell that to your neighbor. As soon as those three words take up residence in the upper left corner of your television screen, that is the signal to drain the grocery store aisles of Ruffles, Doritos and other snacks. These days, it seems that nine times out of 10, the “snowstorm of the millennium” manages to just miss, and instead merely dusts us with two inches of power at the most. But fear not! Local residents are prepared, having stocked up on $400 worth of groceries at the first mention of “winter storm watch.” Better safe than sorry, I guess.
But what does that say about us as a city? I guess it says if we might (and the operative word here is “might”) get hit by a storm, we don’t want to deprive ourselves of junk food for the day (or two at the most) that we wouldn’t be able to get to a grocery store. If we are going to be snowed in for a full 24 hours, by God, we’d best not run out of Hot Pockets. With the grocery buying frenzy that ensues with each snow prediction, you’d think that we’re all residents of some remote mountain area, where we all live in one-room cabins and that food is as scarce as it was in Russia before the fall of Communism. We live in a city. I’m willing to bet a lot of us live a short drive from the grocery store, and if you really, really want to get there, you’ll bundle up and trudge through the snow to get your Cheetos if you got the craving for ‘em.
When the Blizzard of ‘78 hit, I don’t remember a trip to the grocery store before the storm, but I remember my brother taking our old Flexible Flyer with him when he made a run to the local food emporium. When he came home without the cigarettes my mother had requested, mom bundled up and set out for her fix, alone in the cold and snow. My brother should have known better. Not having Hostess Cupcakes on hand is a bummer, but hell hath no fury like a mom trapped in a house with husband and kids, but no smokes. Trust me, I know.