Why You Can't Beat The Weather in Pittsburgh in The Winter

I’ve traveled a lot of miles, and I still stare in bewilderment at people who tell me they’ve moved to a place because “You can’t beat the weather.”




thumbnail photo by chuck beard | snow photo via flickr creative commons

 

It was the ’80s. It was almost Christmas.

Twelve inches of snow fell in one day. Everybody knows there was more snow in the ’80s. Maybe not as much as in the ’70s, but close.

I’m home from college. My buddy Rob runs Pitt’s radio station. The snow fell into the night.

We decided the obvious choice was to go for an 8-mile jog. Meet in Squirrel Hill, do some laps around Homewood Cemetery and return to our respective homes.

Ever jogged down a beach? Farther and farther into the surf? To keep from falling, you need to step like a hurdler. That’s how we ran that night. Like horses doing fancy canters in the snow.

It was frickin’ heaven.

I’ve traveled a lot of miles, and I still stare in bewilderment at people who tell me they’ve moved to a place because “You can’t beat the weather.”

I stare when they speak in defense of some mass-market-designed housing plan where they don’t greet their next-door neighbor, don’t know more than five people, have no sidewalks, nowhere to walk, no town, no bar that’s not in a mall, no children nearby, no memories, no “there” there beside the TV and the back porch looking out on some cinder-block wall dividing them from another back yard just like theirs. “But the weather…” they chant, as the eyes go dull.

This issue is for the winter-weather hater, but it’ll end with a lover. A lover of the glorious, gargantuan chill of a western Pennsylvania winter. Its scoured landscape, the wonder of the pencil lines empty trees draw into our soft sky. How the cold compels us to gather and huddle. How it gives us two homes. Summer Pittsburgh, you can walk within, fragrant and warm in the night. And Winter Pittsburgh, seen from the exact same spot, where if you laid down for the night you wouldn’t wake up. Damn right, you can’t “beat it.”

Rob and I are climbing Forbes Avenue in a headwind when a guy in a two-door ’70s beater with the windows down drives up beside us. The only other vehicles we’d seen that night had “City of Pittsburgh” badged on the door and chains on the tires. The guy fishtails. Snow blows out of his wheel wells as he fights to match our slower pace.

“WAAAAAHOOOOOOO!” he screams. “Ain’t this something! Ain’t this the best! WAAAAHOOOOOOO, boys! Check me out, I AM THE MIDNIGHT —” and then he calls himself a well-known phrase that rhymes with “other trucker” and tells us that though he is the “midnight,” we are bad as Hell. “Bad as Hell, boys, goin’ out tonight! BAD AS HELL!” He roars off as we laugh and cheer.

Half a minute later Rob stops dead and says, “Look, man.” A hundred yards away, in front of the cemetery’s massive columbarium, stand 10 dark … figures … stock-still in the snow, like guardians defending the dead, like the crazy “Dungeons and Dragons” players they probably are, re-enacting some fantasy game on a night when they’re sure no one will bother them. Or ... are they? We stand and watch, wondering what on God’s not-so-green earth is going on. And then one of them moves.

We run like Hell.

This winter memory has been burned in my brain for 30 years.

I can’t think of much I’d rather be than Bad As Hell, and I can’t think of folks I’d have rather grown up with than the Midnight “Other Trucker” and 10 whackos who thought standing harmlessly in the snow on a freezing night in a cemetery was cool. Those are my people. Pittsburgh made us. Her weather had a lot to do with it. So suck it up and deal.
And like Dickens’ character, “It was said of him” (or her, or … they) “that he knew how to keep Christmas” (or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or whatever rite that’s close to your soul) “well.”

Keep it well.

Every one.  

Read more from David Conrad on his blog at clementcrawford.blogspot.com or follow him at crawford_conrad on Instagram  

 

 

 

 

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


With 50 Shades of Silence, Darieth Chisolm Offers Her Voice and Support

With 50 Shades of Silence, Darieth Chisolm Offers Her Voice and Support

The longtime local newscaster’s website and forthcoming documentary, based on her own experience with non-consensual pornography, aim to provide victims with help and support.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Meet the Federal Galley Chefs

Meet the Federal Galley Chefs

We have the lowdown on who is cooking what in the new North Side food hall from the operators of Smallman Galley.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Who's Got the Cutest Pet in Pittsburgh?

Who's Got the Cutest Pet in Pittsburgh?

Announcing Pittsburgh Magazine's 2017 Cutest Pet Contest. First step –– send us a photo of your pet! We will pick 10 finalists and then you'll vote for the winner.

Comments


King Arthur's Sword Turns a Spot in Baldwin Into an Entertainment Destination

King Arthur's Sword Turns a Spot in Baldwin Into an Entertainment Destination

IQ Escape's new South Hills escape rooms elevate Crafthouse Stage & Grill and Legacy Lanes.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Encouraging Start Only a Start for The Steelers

Encouraging Start Only a Start for The Steelers

The season's first two victories were notched against mediocre competition. Eventually, the degree of difficulty is going to ratchet up considerably.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
#Gottahaveit: Take It To the Hoop

#Gottahaveit: Take It To the Hoop

Robert Hallett, Goldsmith, handcrafts the jewelry in his Oakmont shop.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
2017 Silk Screen Festival Focuses on Difficult, Captivating Fare

2017 Silk Screen Festival Focuses on Difficult, Captivating Fare

Reviews of three marquee films included in the 2017 Silk Screen Film Festival, plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Mad Libs Adds Laughs and Advice to Pittsburgh Wedding

Mad Libs Adds Laughs and Advice to Pittsburgh Wedding

Wedding guests were asked to bring their creativity to the couple’s big day.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Tour Chatham Village, Pittsburgh’s Own Secret Garden

Tour Chatham Village, Pittsburgh’s Own Secret Garden

The home and garden tour in the historic planned garden community in the heart of Mt. Washington takes place next week.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Tuition Increases at the University of Pittsburgh

Tuition Increases at the University of Pittsburgh

School trustees voted this week to increase tuition for in-state and out-of-state students.

Comments

Edit Module

Edit Module