The good thing about the power outage last storm was going through the freezer and actually taking inventory of everything in there. Last night some cube steaks came out to be breaded and fried not unlike a chicken-fried steak. Seasoned flour, egg-dip, and bread crumbs, and then browned in a minuscule amount of oil and finished in the oven. I made a simple garlic butter with some fresh garlic and melted butter and drizzled it over the meat for a bit of added flavor. We had a can of creamed corn on the shelf from a corn souffle that was never made so I mixed in some frozen corn and made it reasonably palatable. Mashed sweet potatoes finished it off. Cake for dessert.

The perfect meal to start Snowmageddon. 

Okay. Don’t hate me but I really do love all this snow!

And I did say snow – not ice, sleet, or power-outages. Snow. Growing up where it doesn’t snow changes ones outlook. We had to go to he snow – it didn’t come to us.

My earliest snow memories are from Lake Tahoe not long after the 1960 Winter Olympics. I remember those Olympics well – the first ones I ever saw on TV. I decided right then and there I wanted to be an ice skater and that Christmas I got my very first pair of ice skates!  They weren’t the figure skates I lusted after, though, they were hockey skates! I secretly wanted to be Carol Heiss doing fancy spins to music but if I wanted to skate, I was going to have to play Bill Cleary, so I butched myself up, laced up those hockey skates, and became a tolerably-good hockey player.

During the ’60s, the family would head up to Tahoe for weekend vacations, always staying at the now-defunct Kent Motel on the South Shore.  And sometime around ’65, my mom’s best friend from childhood bought a motel – The Villa Del Mar – right on the lake! They had 4 kids of their own and one year we set up a sled run from the top up the hill in their parking lot, down the hill onto the boat deck and into the lake. Very soon there were screaming, laughing, freezing, dripping wet kids running around inside and out. The adults put  the kibosh on us repeating that trick.

10 yeas later I was living up at the lake on the less-developed North Shore, first in a little cabin with my buddy Steve and working at the Old Post Office in Carnelian Bay. Our first winter there we had a burst water pipe and a frozen Niagara Falls from the kitchen through the living room and out the front door. It’s amazing what you can deal with in good humor when you’re 24 years old.

The following years we moved into the big house with 2 guys I worked with at the Hyatt. I lived there for 4 years with a brief hiatus back to San Francisco in 1978. Boston in late 1980 and Buffalo in 1984. Do you see a snow pattern, here?  My father would just shake his head in amusement when I’d tell him what blizzard-prone place I was moving to next.  His response was he had used his last snow shovel in 1940 and was never picking up another one. And he never did.

Mountain snow is a lot different than city snow and living in a resort where you make your money fleecing the flatlanders with snow activities is a lot different than just another day of having to get to work to pay the mortgage. It was almost always powder at 7000 feet and rare was the heavy wet snow that I see falling outside this morning. I did a lot of skiing in that powder and even digging the car out – we never had a garage at Tahoe – was easy and really took no time, at all. We lived in a snow region and were always prepared to be stuck somewhere for a few days. Lots of food at home and free snow-rooms at the hotel if we were stuck there. And a fully-stocked bar no matter where we were.  We actually threw a few snow parties when the forecast was for numerous feet of snow and could have 20 or more people in the house for a couple of days, eating, drinking, and making merry.

Of course, I’m also remembering being 24 and living the high life with no cares in the world. While mentally I may still be an irresponsible youth, it now hurts when I fall down and it takes longer to get back up. I actually can’t afford to be as foolhardy as I once was. I’m not sure if it’s wisdom or simple self-preservation, but when the township calls and says winter storm warning, stay off the roads, I don’t really question it – I will simply stay off the roads. And I also make sure there’s plenty of food in the house and we can survive whatever is thrown at us.

I had a lot of fun in those devil-may-care days and I’m still enjoying the snow, today, albeit with a slightly different attitude.

And it really doesn’t matter if it’s wisdom or self-preservation that’s keeping me in. I’m staying in.