Smith: Snowstorms don’t change; we do

Paul W. Smith

“Outta my mind on a Monday Moanin’”

What a difference a day makes! Well, actually, about 14,600 days (40 years).

As I write this column on Thursday, to make it into today’s paper, I’m faced with the reality I might not be able to make it home because the winter storm warning is threatening my scheduled flight to take off after my Friday broadcast from the Chicago Auto Show, and my flight landing back home in Detroit. Both cities (and airports) preparing for a major snow storm, blizzard, “Snow-a-cane,” “Snow-ma-geddon,” or God forbid, “Extratropical Cyclone” (Thank you, Wikipedia!)

This, by the way, from two cities that traditionally are well-seasoned handlers of Mother Nature’s best snow shot.

Forty years ago, the last time I felt I was truly held hostage by a snowstorm later dubbed “the Great Blizzard of 1978,” I found myself stranded in an otherwise fine and reliable blue 1976 Toyota Corolla E5, dutifully trying to get to my radio job on Superior Street in Toledo.

I didn’t make it to the station that day. I actually made it only as far as South Otter Creek Road in LaSalle, where I actually had to “abandon ship,” embedded deep into a snow bank along the side of the road, with no chance of getting out till the storm had passed.

Now, with all of the available weather tracking technology, I’m told I may not get out of Chicago, as I look out my window of this very beautiful hotel, The Peninsula Chicago, at a sunny Superior Street (what are the odds that “Superior Street” would play a role 40 years later?!) with dry sidewalks.

There are certainly worse places to be stranded in a snowstorm than a luxury hotel. Like, for example, a 1978 Toyota. With no room service. What a difference 40 years makes.

Paul W. Smith is host of The Paul W. Smith Show on WJR-AM (760) from 5:30-9 a.m. Monday-Friday.