Here in Ohio we’re in the midst of an arctic vortex (they’re calling it), producing temperatures far colder than we’re accustomed to. It was around 10 degrees below zero most of yesterday. Schools and workplaces, including my husband’s, are closed today. John views a day off, of course, not as an opportunity to kick back cozily at home, but to (what else) see a movie. He and my grownup son are soon to brave the cold in order to see Martin Scorsese’s new movie The Wolf of Wall Street.
Which reminds me. I recently ran across a poem I wrote for John one frigid evening thirty years ago, when our son was a baby. John had set out to see Raggedy Man, starring Sissy Spacek, sixty miles north to Cleveland from our Canton home. I am about to share this poem with you. You should know that at that time John worked at the Canton library, that he loves peanut butter and jelly sandwiches almost as much as movies, and, if you’re not from northeast Ohio, that Dick Goddard is a legendary weatherman, who, at age 82, still forecasts regularly on Cleveland TV.
The weatherman Goddard said twenty below
with a dozen or two cubic inches of snow.
Al Roker agreed. (His opinion’s less credible,
but concurrence confirmed that the weather’d be dreadable.)
Our John’s heart was set on Raggedy Man,
but this movie required a trip to Cleveland.
It’s a city located on Erie, the lake,
And sometimes the weather there’s no piece of cake.
For Cleveland is girded by several snow belts,
And the snow that falls lingers, where elsewhere it melts.
The driving John dreaded; the snow and the ice
Make Route Double Seven not so very nice.
Still, Cinema called. To see Sissy in 70,
Dolby, and Cinemascope just would be heavenly.
So he put on his hat and galoshes and gloves
and kissed Kath and Dougie goodbye, whom he loves.
On the way up to Cleveland, a town called The Plum,
of precipitation he saw not a crumb.
But departing the theater, a shock was in store:
The sidewalks, the streets, and the cars dressed in hoar.
On the slush-covered streets John’s Chevette forged ahead.
Wife Kathy, at home, to be nice, changed the bed.
In a cozy dry diaper Doug silently slept,
And Daddy instead while he slipped loudly wept.
Visibility nil, and traction without,
the driving so bad, it gave John some doubt.
For was it all worth it, the sixty-mile drive,
through which in foul weather, he may not survive?
For Cinema’s muse, for Sissy and Jean-Luc,
and Feddy and Rainer and Werner and the Duke,
he could lose it all:
the treats on the table and B. Village Mall,
R. Newman, and Dougie, the rest of the family,
the Palace and orange juice and sandwiches (p.b.)?
But then John remembered—there’s also the laundry
and crying and spit-up and work at the library.
He realized quick when compared to a movie,
that life, sometimes good, isn’t always so groovy.
So now we all know, like the old postman poem,
Not rain, sleet, or snow will keep Ewing at home.