Sunday, January 31, 2010

Blizzard in a Bottle

I remember the blizzard of ’88 – it arrived one afternoon in March just as I was bringing Bleb into the barn. It blew in so fast that his tail froze before he could get inside. It froze my shadow to the outside wall, too, and if there hadn’t been an axe nearby I’d have been there until spring. Luckily my wife had just burnt a pan of cornbread; I was able to pull myself into the house by grabbing the smoke that had drifted out of the kitchen window.

Now some folks think the storm of ’88 was just Mother Nature reminding everyone who was boss, but I believe it was caused by a misapplication of Wizard Water©.

I am occasionally asked if Wizard Water© can do anything about the weather. Of course it can. Fill a bottle with snow, add a few drops of concentrated Wizard Water©, seal the contents tightly and store it in a dark place such as your root cellar. Come summer, tie the bottle to a kite. When the bottle is nearly out of sight, shoot it. The winds will scatter snow over the landscape below, and the summer heat will melt the snow into a welcome shower. The drawback to this is that you cannot always control where the rain will fall. I once tried selling this product to farmers as a weather aid, but after accidentally flooding a church decided not to pursue the matter.

However, early in the spring of ’88 I had not yet reached that conclusion, and sold a case of my product for weather-related purposes to an aeronaut. This gentleman made his living demonstrating feats of daring from a hot air balloon. He was tired of jumping from the balloon and hoped Wizard Water© would lead to a safer and more lucrative source of income. The last I saw of him, he was eagerly filling bottles during a snow flurry and storing them in the basket of his balloon.

The blizzard hit just a week after I sold him the case of Wizard Water©. The gentleman travelled from town to town in his balloon, the better to advertise his craft and gather a crowd, and I strongly suspect that he met with some misfortune while in the air. Perhaps a flock of geese upset the basket; perhaps the balloon’s kerosene stove exploded. Whatever occurred released an inordinate amount of concentrated, wind-infused snow and cold air into the atmosphere.

Folks still talk about that storm. If you were outside, your words would freeze as soon as they left your mouth. Rooster calls and dog barks were only audible at high noon when the sun defrosted things a little. Train whistles couldn’t be heard in a timely manner, so conductors had to signal their arrival with fireworks. The bursts stayed suspended in the air, though, and kept everyone awake at night. Milk cows started giving ice cream. We noticed a new eagle ornament atop the town hall but later in the spring it flew off. By the time I got inside our kitchen that afternoon, the chimney was so choked with frozen smoke that we had to use a shotgun to clear it out. The storm lasted for a week, and every few hours we’d have to clear out the chimney again. At noon the air was full of the sound of roosters, dogs, fireworks and gun blasts.

This is why I no longer advertise Wizard Water©’s weather-inducing properties. I advise others against using it for such purposes, too. If you do, use it inside so as not to disturb your neighbors.

copyright ©2010 Laurie J. Anderson, all rights reserved.

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