Saturday, February 14, 2015

Wilbo Doesn't Permit the Cold to Spoil His Trip to the Traverse City Winter Comedy Festival.

Tonight, the cold test us, and the cold hasn't won any victories with me tonight. This morning, I saw it was blowing and snowy outside, and I could have cancelled out on volunteering at the Winter Comedy Festival. But I'm "How bad it could be"? Housekeeping informed me that Wendy's Hamburgers next door has chosen to close for the day. US-31 just north of the restaurant had closed for the day. She was freaked out about being stranded at a hotel booked solid for the night.

Zero visibility on Front Street driving into town meant that we all hit our flashers. Other than that, the pavement had been laid bare by the high winds off the East Bay. I had all my heat blowing on the inside of my windshield to keep frost from obscuring my view, causing a chill to annoy my feet. "Power to the Shields", as a Star Trek captain might say. I parked in the garage closest to the State Theater and left my car in that ramp after getting my credential lanyards.

After stopping for a Greek salad and a gyro at the You and I, I marched the four tenths of a mile to the Old Town Playhouse. I was pretty determined to make quick work of the distance. The wind howled in my face and yet I was letting that force redden my face instead of head butting the gale with my knit cap. My glasses kept the blasts out of my eyes. Crossing the Boardman River, I could stare to the bottom of the open water, which steamed with warmth. I have no idea from where that water warmth came. I made arrival at the Playhouse in a converted church soon after crossing the mystically warm river.

I met the house manager and he assigned tasks. To me he said, "Since you have a knit cap on, would you make sure the sidewalks are clean"? He took me to the utility closet, and I picked out a likely shovel, wide blade and an easy to manage handle. "Do you have mittens", he asked. "I never wear mittens", a half-true answer. I lost a boatload of mittens when I attended elementary school. So I learned to tolerate cold hands, actually subscribing to the possibly fatuous belief of "mental mittens". I shoveled willingly and without complaint because I'm given to complaining. This was a good chance to move heavy snow in gale like conditions and not whine. The sidewalk along the northern side had clogged with drifts, and the drifting required more than an hour to clear. I'll be a little sore tonight but I worked slowly with plenty of breaks and the cold didn't win today. My inner heat kicked up with the exercise, and I was cheerful about the work. Yes, I was tripping.

So after my shift, I was hoping to visit the Seven Monks tap room, a half mile away from Old Town Playhouse and further from my car. Well, the snow crunched under my feet and big gusts of wind invaded my overcoat and chased off the warm air my body had made pleasant. My glasses frosted over the second I entered the monks, but the cold didn't keep me from my tap room of my choice.

Now about that half mile walk to my car, which must be picked up by midnight. I hear warning tents are available on Front Street. I'll duck into a tent if I get a chill on the way back to the garage. But why let the cold win the next round by allowing any thoughts of misery? I could go straight back to the hotel but where's the fun in that when the J&S awaits with a breakfast cooked on a hot griddle? Two more rounds and I can sleep in a warm bed, victorious over the cold as my eyes drowse.

Will Juntunen

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