SEATTLE – Greetings to all my slush-engulfed friends back in Snokane and the Igloo Northwest.
Sleetless in Seattle.
Aw, don’t despise me for fleeing our winter of discontent:
•Giant ice stalactites hanging dangerously from the eves of the houses.
•TV weathercasters gibbering like gerbils on crack.
•Constant donning and re-donning of long johns.
It was all driving me mad, I tell you.
I’d love to say I had second thoughts about tagging along with my lovely wife, Sherry, on her work trip to Seattle.
I’d love to say that a small part of me wanted to stay behind in the frozen homeland and fight the good fight with all of you.
I’d love to say that I have hair, too, and a 34-inch waistline.
That’s the sound of me taking the chicken’s way out.
Oh, come on. It’s not as if I’m lazing on a beach in Maui.
The weather’s not so hot over here.
As a matter of fact it’s been raining like crazy.
A number of the local rivers are in full and frightening flood mode. For many area residents, winter is fast becoming a Waterworld nightmare.
I know how relieved you’ll be to hear that I am writing these words from the dry safety of a padded leather couch in the living room of a very cozy hotel.
Did I mention that there’s a gas fireplace flickering in front of my propped-up feet?
Seattle gets a bad rap for rain, if you ask me.
Most of the time the rain is a blessing. Without it there’d be no way to wash away the chronic downtown smell of hobo urine.
Gazing out my ninth-floor window, I see apartments and office buildings towering against a gray backdrop of sky.
Down below there is a courtyard abundant with a variety of bushes and foliage. A small silver car is nestled under a nearby carport.
You know what I don’t see?
One solitary speck of snow.
Go ahead. Call me a coward. But I know you’d all grab a chance to blow town if given the opportunity.
On Tuesday morning the driving conditions were so deplorable that my car got stuck three times in 15 minutes.
And that was just backing out of my driveway.
Then – like an answer to prayer – my brother-in-law, Lee, showed up. He’s a retired Washington State Patrol sergeant who racked up a bazillion miles of driving experience when he was on the job.
With his expertise and my pushing, we somehow managed to get my car from the driveway to the street, where it promptly got re-stuck, blocking both lanes.
This is my new snow car I’m talking about.
I haven’t told you about my latest old clunker purchase. But a month or so ago I bought this 1988 LTD Crown Victoria with only 51,000 miles on it.
I had snow tires installed all the way around. Then I put two heavy sandbags in the trunk.
This Detroit relic has been negotiating the streets of Spokane all winter long without a hitch.
That should give you an idea about what a freak show Tuesday morning was. The only thing the V8 engine could accomplish was making the back tires spin like a roulette wheel.
My moored Ford was freed thanks to a truck-driving saint who happened along with a tow rope and a willing spirit.
After that ordeal you couldn’t get me on an outbound jet plane fast enough.
But don’t worry. Just because I’m over here doesn’t mean I’ve stopped thinking about my hometown.
How could I?
On Wednesday morning I opened my complimentary copy of USA Today. There at the bottom of page 3A was a small photograph of a man engaged in an all-too familiar activity.
The caption read, “In Spokane Wash.: Neal Treece sweeps snow off his girlfriend’s car. About 7 inches of snow fell on the area Tuesday.”
I may hole up in this hotel until spring.
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