Saturday, February 04, 2012


COLD WEATHER RIFF


At last we've got some weather I can call cold, who grew up in upstate New York just south of the north pole where winter weather meant daggery January winds racing howling down from the north with icicle teeth as we teens stood thin-clad on the rimed streetcorners at night bein cool, hangin out... It just doesn't seem to get that cold any more, a situation that often prompts my fogey intro "Why when I was a boy...," begetting in turn that roll of the eyes in any teenagers or so in the vicinity "Oh no, not that story again, about the weather..."

Yeah, and unlike you kids nowadays at the age of 9 I used to go out at 5 a.m. in NY winter blizzards to deliver the morning newspaper before going off to school, and those were blizzards like you don't see anymore. One place I used to deliver the papers to in the wintry darkness was in the big old cemetery out beyond the edge of town. None of the dead subscribed, but the cemetery caretaker did, and he lived in the big old Addams family caretaker's mansion with its pointy spires and tall narrow windows, beyond the high, creaking, speartipped, slowly opening cast iron gate...

At the first squeal of the heavy gate there began to sound from the lower depths of the house an infernal howling, a devilish moaning, long and lowing, yearning for the flesh of a young paperboy trudging down the long wide deep-snow walk in the dark beneath the high arching bare-limbed, arm-waving, body-grabbing elm trees, toward the big plate-glass-windowed doors that glowed with a sinister nightlight there in the distance through the snowflake-spewing wind...

"What ghosts must live here," would always race unbidden through my 9-year-old mind surrounded by graves, the keepers of the air brushing my face with the whispering snowflakes of the dead...

That soul-chilling yowl was the eccentric caretaker's herd of Great Dane hellhounds, each twice my height on its hind legs, yearning pent up all night in the silent house until there was my sound at the gate...

As I approached the house the hounds arose from the cellar depths and began their clacking galloping yowling traversal of the long wood-floored corridor that stretched from the far back of the house to the front door, timing their journey perfectly in the dim light so that just as I reached the doorway and was about to place the newspaper on the doormat safely out of reach of the drifting snow their massive paws would strike the giant plate glass windows of the doors like bearclawed catcher's mitts and send a whang of a bonging gong shuddering thoughout the dead-air house and me and the universe, and the dogs would stand slavering overhead, booming their deep bass roar-bellows over and over through the ice-toothed morning air as I positioned the newspaper, turned and walked toward the gate and squeaked once again beyond their reach, until perhaps tomorrow, before dawn... Those were interesting times...

And that was cold, that was cold... you don't get weather like that anymore...

Or newspapers...

3 comments:

deepsharma said...

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Mary Lou said...

Yeah, those were the days!

Robert Brady said...

Thought somehow it would always be like that...