Al Gore, Perry Mason, and Halley's Comet

I woke up last night to the sound of thunder. Thunder. And rain. IN JANUARY.  

What is going on? What distorted parallel universe did I wake up in? This is not natural. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: Al Gore was right about EVERYTHING. Somebody should give him a medal…or at least a free cookie or something.


I want me some snow. I want me some epic snow. I want snow like from my childhood. I grew up in Traverse City and one of the houses (where I lived from 10-13) was on top of a hill by a lake. Clouds would sweep over that lake, get fat with moisture, and then dump all of that new snow on our driveway. I’d wake up to snowdrifts that were seven feet tall. The snow would cover our car in the driveway, leaving only a frayed tennis ball that we’d stuck on the antenna for just such an event. Seriously.


School closings were as reliable as Wednesday. They happened every week. I’m not exaggerating.


It reminds me that once while Mom and my stepdad Jay were trying to get the cars out, Mom told me to go outside and play. I turned off the Perry Mason rerun on TBS (I was a weird kid. At 12, I was obsessed with old crime shows), crawled into my mom’s 1970s brown snowsuit and went outside. I wasn’t quite sure how to ‘play’. I’d read that other kids played, but I wasn’t sure what that meant exactly.



I’d heard on the news that Halley’s Comet might be visible soon, so I decided to go outside and look for it. I crawled through the back yard, over a snowdrift as big as a sand dune, plopped myself in the snow and waited. With all my snow gear on, it was peculiarly warm. The only thing that was cold was my face as the snow blew over it. There was a terrific silence, a faint crackling of ice and snow shifting. The snow fell in a whisper all around me. In the distance I could hear snow blowers.


I lay there for hours. It felt like hours anyway, and I thought maybe just maybe I saw the comet, streaking across the sky in a blur of white. I probably made a wish.


When I got too cold I waded back inside, peeled off the snowsuit by the front door. Perry Mason was still on. I made a twice-baked potato in the microwave.


In reality I’d been outside for a total of three minutes, and Halley’s Comet wouldn’t arrive until a year later (1986) and you could only see it in Australia.


I want another snow like THAT. Please tell Al Gore to get me one. I hear he can do almost anything. Except, you know, become president. (Booooo)