Snow is Like Cold Sand

Jan Norris Athens breakfast 01-23-2013I didn’t get a lot of sleep last night. After doing a dry run at the Athens County Historical Society and Museum, I decided to rework my presentation to include more photos taken in Athens County.

I was feeling a bit sleepy (make that REALLY sleepy) around 2 a.m., so I thought I set the alarm on my cellphone for a 20-minute nap. I set it all right, but failed to hit the DONE button. I woke up  with a start at 4 a.m., saw the time, saw the phone alarm, then decided I was still too tired to do anything. I set the alarm for 7:30 and hit SAVE and DONE.

After getting the show put together, Friend Jan Norris and I headed downtown for breakfast. Excellent food. Jan had eggs, two sausage patties, hashbrowns, toast and an order of pancakes (which she pronounced the best she had ever eaten). “I heard that you’re supposed to eat lots of carbs when it’s cold,” she justified.

Presentation went well

I had a good audience for my photos of Southern Ohio and the years of protests at Ohio University. There’s a good chance that I’ll be working with the group for quite awhile. (You can click on the photos to make them larger, by the way.)

An icicle!

Jan Norris Athens OH sports icicle 01-23-2013_0667Jan was excited to see an icicle hanging above us. I tried to explain how guys at Scott Quadrangle, the dorm I lived in, would suspend a thin wire out a second or third floor window, then drip water down it. Layers and layers of ice would build up until the ice spear would be 20 or 30 feet long and a foot or more thick at the top.

The university, not looking forward to writing a “Dear Mom and Dad, Your child took part in an innovative experiment to determine just how long an icicle can grow before breaking off, ” letter, put an end to the practice.

Starting to find the style

Jan Norris Athens OH 01-23-2013_0671She was looking a little less like a rainbow-covered Michelin Man today. [Wife Lila suggests that I clarify that the Michelin Man look is from all of the layers of clothing, not the natural Jan. Of course, Wife Lila hasn’t seen the size of those breakfasts….]

She got cold AND snow

Athens snow 1-23-2013Jan went roaming around town while I was wrapping up at the museum. She came back to say that it was snowing. Indeed, it WAS. A fine dusting of dry snow that didn’t look like it was going to amount to much.

We made arrangements to meet OU friends Terry and Lyntha Eiler for dinner, then drove around to find the apartments Wife Lila and I lived in when we were newlyweds. We found one for sure, and maybe a second one. It looked “almost” right, but I couldn’t be positive. By this time, the ground was turning white and some of the intersections were getting slippery.

We had a great dinner (sure wish I had left off the onions), then walked outside to see the sidewalks covered and quite a bit on the roads where the cars hadn’t worn it off. On the way back to the motel, we passed a car that had slipped off onto the median.

We head toward Cape Thursday if we don’t see bad weather rushing at us. I told her she’ll have a chance to scrape ice off the windshield in the morning. I mean, after all, she wants the WHOLE cold weather experience, right?



Athens County Historical Society

Jessica Cyders - Curator Athens Historican Societ and Museum 01-22-2013Friend Jan Norris and I spent the day at the Athens County Historical Society and Museum meeting with curator Jessica Cyders and other folks. They are a great bunch of folks who made me feel very welcome and very flattered.

It’s fun to see people get excited about small details that help them fill in holes in the area’s history. It looks like my Ohio era photos could end up with the society when I go toes-up.

I had forgotten how hilly Athens is. If Norris stayed here a week, she’d have the Athens Calves that everybody develops here. I wish I had taken a photo of her in her many layers today. “Is there any color in the rainbow that you’re NOT wearing?” I asked her. If her lips hadn’t been frozen together, I’m sure she would have come up with a smart reply.

Jan may get to see snow falling

Weather could be interesting. The first forecast I saw this morning showed Cape getting up to five inches of snow on Thursday and Athens getting the same amount on Friday. Both have been revised downward, but the official word from the weather service is “a fast moving winter storm system is forecast to race across the quad state region Thursday night and depart Friday morning. The latest available forecast model guidance suggests while it is still too early to pinpoint exact amounts and locations… it continues to look like at least some accumulation of snow… ice… and sleet is expected with this system.

Freezing a Floridian

FL native Jan Norris tries to figure out how to wear cold weather clothing.I’m pushing hard to get a bunch of stuff done so I can head back to Cape via Athens, Ohio, this weekend. One of the tasks was to cold-proof my former coworker and bike partner Jan Norris. See, Jan has heard so much about Cape that she volunteered to go along to keep me company. (OK, wormed her way in might be another way to put it.)

This is going to be interesting because Jan is one of those rare birds – a Florida native. You can click any of the photos if you want to see her before her nose freezes off.

Wife Lila, taking pity on her, reached deep into the back of the closet to outfit her for frigid temperatures. “Long underwear? Those are real? People REALLY wear them?” I left the room while Wife Lila explained the rear trap door. I wasn’t sure whether Jan is one of those folks who can learn by explanation or if she needed a practical demonstration, and I sure didn’t want to find out.

You should have seen her try to figure out how earmuffs work.

Here’s how you wear a scarf

FL native Jan Norris tries to figure out how to wear cold weather clothing.Jan was food editor at The Palm Beach Post. There was a time when she and I were exiled into the deepest bowels of the building. Her office was right across from the telecom switchroom where I lived. Our location was sort of like the geographic equivalent of the shortest day of the year: any step you took in any direction put you closer to sunlight.

Newspapers get an incredible amount of swag. Our book reviewer would get close to 5,000 books a year. PR people would send food, wine and other products they hoped would serve as bribes or fodder for product review. Our ethics policy said it had to be turned over to charity. Jan and I co-chaired a twice-a-year book sale and silent auction that raised from $10,000 to $20,000 a year for little-know charities that were below the radar of United Way and the Palm Beach balls.

Working closely together on those projects led me to try to convince Jan that THIS is the proper way to wear a scarf. {Note to Friend Mary: this is the scarf you knitted when I worked at The Jackson Pioneer back in 1964. It’s as good as ever. You did good work.]

Jan and Mother

Key Largo to Key West bike ride 02-25-2001When a bunch of us rode our bikes from Key Largo to Key West, Jan shared a houseboat room with Mother. Shortly after writing the sad story about my mother’s arm, I was talking with Jan about it. “No, that can’t be true. I spent the night with that woman. She didn’t have anything wrong with her arm.”

“You don’t believe me? Let’s call my brother Mark. He’ll tell you the same story.”

“Let’s call Lila. Lila can’t lie.” She had me there.

I dialed the number and handed Jan the phone. “You won’t believe the crazy story Ken was telling me about his mother….”

“You mean about her arm?” Lila asked.

“I spent the NIGHT with that woman. I never noticed.”

I can’t wait to see Jan giving Mother long, furtive glances the whole time she’s in Cape.

We’re staying at the Meth Motel

Jan Norris Bike ride from Key Largo to Key West 02-24-2001My definition of a good trip is when you end up with as many people as you start out with. It’ll be interesting to do a head count at the end of THIS trip. Our first area of conflict may deal with lodging. She was talking about making reservations. I said I don’t do that because I don’t know how far I’m going to drive on any particular day or if I may decide to change routes at the last minute.

She said she likes to stay at a place with chocolates on the pillow. I told her I never look too closely at black objects on my pillows because I’m afraid they may have legs at the places I stay.

I tried to reassure her by telling her the kind folks at the Athens Historical Society had booked us a couple of rooms at The Meth Motel. “That probably means Methodists run it.”

She set the standard for messy

Jan Norris office 03-22-2006_527One great thing about Jan was that any time someone poked fun at MY office, where everything was in a carefully crafted state of chaos, I’d say, “Let’s go for a walk.” It was common knowledge that one newsroom staffer’s job description included “distract fire inspector if he starts anywhere near Norris’ office on the annual walk-through.”

In fairness to Jan, not ALL of the clutter belonged to her. I put the Hula Parrot on her desk when I was giving it a tour of the paper.

I’m sure Jan will have a much different perspective on our trip, but history belongs to the survivor who writes it down. I hope we hit at least one day when it’s cold enough to freeze the hair in her nose.