Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Wussies or Dummies?

The recent cold weather periods hitting northeastern and central Pennsylvania over the last week, there has been much conjecture about the delaying the start of the school day or cancelling all together.  The question has been brought up, is it too cold to wait for a bus in the cold weather?

Back in the late 70's while attending a parochial elementary school in Shamokin, we were required to serve as altar boys for the daily mass that started at 6:45 am. Your turn to serve the morning mass rolled around once every few weeks because of the many "volunteers." One it was my turn to serve mass, I had to leave earlier than my sisters and friends.  I would be on my own.

My daily commute consisted of a 20 minute walk in the morning and a 25 minute walk in the afternoon. On occasion, a trusted family friend would offer a lift if they had room in their vehicle and were traveling the same direction. By the late 70's we didn't have to walk uphill both ways! Most of all, the task wasn't too difficult. It was only a matter of time until I would have to man up.

A January morning rolled around where I was on my altar boy rotation and the low overnight was minus-5 degrees. The advice of my mother was to simply dress warm.  It meant wearing a coat, hat, sweater, gloves and even a scarf that would make fans of a Christmas Story proud. After bundling up from head to toe, I ventured out from my home. After walking just one block, I knew what the term "exposed flesh" meant on a person although the wind was mostly calm that morning.

I arrived at church with some time to spare.  There wasn't a band celebrating my sub-zero commute to serve the Lord. The normal parishioners and guests were seated.  If there were more than 15 people in attendance, it was a special day.  I informed our church pastor of my arrival.  The Reverend George Dubitsky informed me I had roughly 10 minutes to get ready.  It meant taking of my winter garb, getting warm, and having my cassock buttoned from head to toe. 

The following never happened in this story.  I wasn't asked, "how cold was the walk?" " Are you warm?  Do you need something warm to drink?" Mass started at 6:45 am.  If it was your turn to serve, be there on time.  It didn't matter how close or far you lived. 

Now well into my 40's, I drive through a few bus stops on my way to work.  I see many students without coats, just wearing t-shirts or shorts in sub-30 degree weather.  You could survive conditions like that, but cannot wear a coat sub-zero weather?  For the most part, if you didn't have problems with your home, a sub-zero temperature was just another day at the office.

As the calendar turned over to 2014, I realized that my high school class of 1984 will be celebrating our 30-year anniversary.  Throughout 2014, I will highlight what was big in our area of Pennsylvania along with state, national and global events that took place at that time.
One thing about 1984, it produced one of the most talked about commercials in Super Bowl history in January of 1984.  The company is still around strong as ever and most of our children can't go without one of their products.  Here is the commercial in which all have been judged: 

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