The year was 1979. I know, because it was also the year of the Blizzard of ’79 that hit Chicago. Snow was everywhere, and people were literally shooting others over parking spots that they had spent hours digging out and then were “holding” with lawn chairs. Chicago – always keeping it classy.
We were in the suburbs…barely…but we had alleys and garages and snow routes, which meant that during the night, we were forced to park the cars in the garage that might collapse under the weight of snow so the village snow plows could clear the streets.
How snowy was it?
It was so snowy that they ran out of places to put the snow except on top of more snow. Which meant that when my brother’s and I walked up to the library, in trying to keep on the sidewalk on the block with the lumber yard, we had to climb a mountain of snow then walk along the top of it. Luckily, it was so high that it reached the top of the two story lumber shed, and we held onto the gutter for balance.
It was so snowy that at one point, six year old me wasn’t allowed out there. I was tiny for my age, the snow was taller than me, and my mom was afraid that I might get sucked in by the snow and suffocate. I cried over it – until my brothers got the genius plan to make trails in the snow and spent hours basically building a maze through our front yard, packing in snow paths, so I could run through them as well.
It was so snowy that the snow in parts was higher than our fence, which was about four feet high.
Everything was white. None of it was going anywhere.
Meanwhile, our dog George – who was a wondrous mutt of a dog – died on March 1st. And we cried because George was awesome.
We kids only knew life with a dog, and being kids had the mourning period of gnats, so we were probably all “Can we get a puppy now?” My parents, also being dog lovers, hatched a plan. My brother’s birthday was just two days away, why not present the family with a new puppy then?
It was also the year my dad decided to get those trick candles – the ones that you blow out and they relight? Yeah, not the best option for a cake two days after your beloved pet dies and your greatest wish is to get a new dog. The wish was made, the candles blown out, the candles relit, my brother burst into tears thinking his wish wouldn’t come true, and my mother started muttering to my dad “Get the puppy! For God’s sake, get the puppy!”
The little white furball was then presented to us, and we had cake and a new puppy and all was well again.
Well, sort of.
Because new puppy had to be housebroken. But new white puppy couldn’t be let out into the yard safely because, well, we’d lose him in all the snow if left out there on his own. So someone had to take new puppy outside, lift him up and onto the snow bank, then you’d both stand there shivering waiting for puppy to do his business, and then lift puppy up off of the snowbank, hurry back inside, where new puppy would finally be warm enough to pee in a corner.
Life lesson? “Never buy a white puppy in the middle of a blizzard. He’ll never be properly housebroken.”
God bless the dog, but he never was.
Also, bonus lesson? Never tell your kids about how one of your kids couldn’t say the word “puppy” quite right as a toddler, because that’s how your kids end up naming said white puppy “Puckie”.
I can’t believe we talked them into naming the dog Puckie. We should probably add that to our “Sorry Mom” list of apologies.
This is part of the 31 Days writing challenge…to find out more about it or read more from this challenge, check out the 31 Days page!