Snowbound

Weather reports indicate that the northeastern United States is about to be slammed with a blizzard that will drop as much as two feet of snow on Boston and New York. Which sounds like fun to me. We have been snowbound from time to time in Minnesota and in my home state of South Dakota, but never more epically than in January 2005, when I was in Cambridge, Massachusetts, along with my wife and two of my daughters, to participate in a “new media” event at Harvard’s Kennedy School. According to Wikipedia, the blizzard we experienced that weekend dropped as much as three feet of snow on Boston and environs. It seemed like at least that much to us.

We managed to get the Kennedy School program in, but by the time it was over the snow was falling so thick you couldn’t see. By the next morning, everything was shut down. We weren’t well prepared for the storm, especially since the airline lost Loree’s luggage. A couple of days later, they said they had found it and delivered a duffel to the Charles Hotel, where we were staying. Loree opened the suitcase–which admittedly looked a bit like hers–and found that it contained unwashed hockey gear. Later that day, we found a sweatshirt shop open in Harvard Square and stocked up on cold weather gear. No vehicles were moving anywhere, so we walked around Cambridge for a couple of days.

My daughters, somewhere between the Charles Hotel and Harvard Yard:

Same girls, with the Yard in the background:

We went out in search of something that was open, and found a bar/restaurant off the square that was playing country music. Here is the square, snowbound:

The Charles Hotel was completely snowed in. Staff who were there couldn’t leave, and no one could come in. So the employees all stayed, and continued serving food as long as it held out. There was a Legal Seafood restaurant across the hotel’s back lot, and we walked there for dinner one night. In the midst of the blizzard, the New England Patriots played a playoff game on a snowy field. Tom Brady was at his best in those days, and the Patriots won. We watched the game in a hotel restaurant with lots of local fans, an experience I hope to duplicate someday with a Minnesota team. But I am not holding my breath.

As things cleared a bit, we continued walking around Cambridge. This is my youngest, who seems rather garishly garbed for reasons I really can’t explain, atop a snowbank in Harvard Yard:

As we were walking along somewhere in Cambridge, we passed a store where mannequins were incongruously wearing bikinis. I couldn’t resist this shot of my daughter Laura, who insisted that no braces be visible:

Our original plan had been to rent a car and drive north into New Hampshire and Vermont after my Kennedy School program was done, but that of course was impossible. No cars were going anywhere. So we passed a few days happily snowbound, and by the time we were due to fly back to Minnesota, the roads were clear enough for us to get to the airport. In the meantime, we visited the North End, and Old North Church, where we enjoyed a wonderful narration of Paul Revere’s ride. These cars were snowed in, somewhere in the North End:

In my opinion, there are few things in life more fun than being snowbound. Nature is much bigger than we are, a fact of which it is always useful to be reminded. Mostly, though, it is just fun to be on your own in a world of snow. I hope that tomorrow’s New Yorkers and Bostonians will enjoy being snowbound as much as we did in 2005.

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