5. The Blizzard of 2011: As bad as our recent blizzard was, it could have been so much worse. It could have struck during rush hour. It could have caught us off-guard. (Check out No. 2 on my all-time weather list). And I might have had to go without Diet Coke another day or two.
The passage of time might warrant putting the blizzard higher on my list. It was a prolonged event and it completely shut down traffic for two days. In fact, when Interstate 70 was closed from Independence to St. Louis and the University of Missouri shut down for three days, that moved CoMo Blizzard 2011 from No. 10 to No. 5 on my list. Those were historic measures.
But what if Snowmaggedon hadn’t started until mid-day on Tuesday, Feb. 1? Traffic problems, stranded motorists and emergency rescues during an 18-inch, white-out snowfall simply didn’t happen. Instead, the image that stands out most in my mind was the empty egg shelves at Wal-Mart the day before the snowsami bore down. Which leads me to ask, Do most people eat eggs only during blizzards? We didn’t exhaust our egg supply, but after three days of being snowed in, I came precariously close to encountering withdrawal symptoms from my Diet Coke addiction. Thursday afternoon I tweeted something about being on my last drop. Before the night was over, former next-door neighbor Grant Kitch showed up at my door with a two liter bottle of the heavenly elixir.
His four-wheel-drive carriage also did a fine job breaking up the heavy blanket of snow that kept us home whether we wanted to be there or not. I was able to work from home and the editors/reporters who did manage to get to the Columbia Tribune did an incredible job covering the blizzard. Not that long ago, I would have gone to heroic — even dangerous — levels to be in the office, to be on top of the first real blizzard to hit Missouri in decades.
Day 1 of the blizzard, Tuesday Feb. 1, was my scheduled day off. There was something strangely comforting about not having to be THE ONE who covered the storm. I could be off. Many of my prior stints as reporter, editor or publisher did not give me that freedom. Of course, if the Blizzard of 2011 had been worse, I would have been on the front line telling the story, reporting how the great storm had disrupted and endangered our lives.
It could have been so much worse. Maybe the most historic aspect of the storm is that it wasn’t much worse.
It could have been.