Snow Drifts, and The Night of the Tomato, revisited

Well, Spring is on the way, I heard!    We here in Northern Ohio escaped most of the big snow storm this past week, which is fine with me, but the news weather people were quite disappointed.     It is always so heartening the way they put on parkas and mittens and various snow gear and wade out to the nearest snow drift to pose for the 11 o’clock news segment.      There used to be an old joke about shoveling “partly cloudy” off the front walk on the morning after the prediction of sunshine and warming temperatures.

We never know what to expect here in Ohio in March, when the daffodils are raring to go, and indeed when ready the blooms just open, even there is snow up to their eyebrows.   We have photos someplace of snowdrifts with daffodil flowers laying right on top of the snow.

Back in the 1940s there was a great snow fall in Cleveland.   My Dad and the other men in the neighborhood waded through the waist-high snow (maybe it was thigh-high…but hey, I was a kid) to trudge along the middle of the road to the grocery store, which valiantly opened its doors to the brave men who made it through the deep snow to buy supplies for their families.

Kids all over town were ecstatic, since the school was closed.   Except me…who was sick.   I have written about this traumatic event in my young life before…ten years old and unable to go outside to play in what (as far as I can recall) was the most exciting event ever.      I still remember standing looking out the front window as my brother proceeded to demolish the pristine white snow drifts.    Even at this late date the disappointment is  palpable.     (I have  always been a dramatic kid.)

The television news crew was stranded at the TV studio for a long time, and the exhausted and dedicated News Men were so worn out after being on camera for days (well, many hours anyway) they removed their coats and ties, which was nearly unheard of on the TV in those days.    These selfless and loyal personalities stayed with their fans and watchers throughout the siege…helping the police department care for the needs of the citizens…who were desperate for milk and other life-sustaining items.

Several years later two of my girlfriends, and our boyfriends, were caught in another huge snow storm.   We came out of a movie theater, to find the storm raging…and nearby was a man and woman whose car had become stuck in a snow drift.    We—the boys anyway—helped the couple out of the drift, and they invited us to their house for sandwiches and a hot drink.      That was nice of them, as by this time we were all frozen and starving.

To my horror, the lady served us bacon-lettuce-tomatoes (BLTs), which was something of a remarkable gesture in the middle of winter to have fresh tomatoes and lettuce.    Now, lest anyone fails to understand why the BLTs would be such a bad thing to the point of being a Big Deal to Me.      To that point in time I had never eaten a tomato…I hated tomatoes, and avoided them at all costs.   But now…faced with a tomato sandwich…I HAD to eat it.    Refusing to partake of the couple’s generosity was not possible.

So that’s how I happened to eat a tomato for the first time in my life.    I think of that incident every time I see a BLT….but yes, I do eat tomatoes now, at least in sandwiches with bacon and lettuce.