If you’re watching the weather today, one would think it’s apocalyptic times. Wrong. Is this a major storm? Well, duh. It’s it going to be bone chilling cold? Chime in here Homer, “Duh, duh.” In fact, one of my friends, who’s a few years older and lived in Texas all his life, can’t ever remember such a cold snap in his lifetime. Well, it’s gonna take a Yankee/Okie to jog his memory.
I moved to Texas back in 1983, in a 24’ by 8’ travel trailer. The perfect abode for starting my construction career. It was cheap, affordable and easily mobile. One thing it didn’t’ have was skirting, which I would pay a heavy price in due time.
OSU was headed to the Blue Bonnet bowl. My wife and I picked up tickets and couldn’t wait to go and escape the blue northern that was barreling down from the Artic North. And believe me, it came barreling down and hit home on December 18th,dropping the thermometer in a heart-beat! The coldest day was December 22nd, bottoming out at 5 F. Add in that brutal north wind and it dropped even further. How did that affect my living conditions? Well, think about the movie, “Ice Station Zebra” and you get the idea. Everything in the trailer froze and the water tank split. Yeah, that was fun. Ever tired to brush your teeth with milk or beer? Trust me, it’s not a pleasant experience. Milk coats your mouth, like Elmer’s Glue, giving the impression you have rabis and beer, well, think about Old Faithful after that first swish. Yep. there she blows! Oh and don’t try and shampoo your hair in 50 degree water. Why? Well, think about the current brain surgeon that put Gorilla Glue in her hair. Cold water does not, repeat, does not get your oil-based shampoo out. I wound up going to work and taking a bath in the men’s restroom. While I was attending to my personal hygiene, one of the guys that worked next door walked in and was getting ready to call the cops. He thought a homeless guy was taking a bath. It was soooo much fun. Not. To top that off, both of my propane tanks went empty. What else could go wrong?
The front didn’t stop at the DFW demarcation line. It plummeted all the way to Houston and froze that town solid. So much for escaping to a warmer climate. Not only was Houston an ice box, my good friend Mike, made reservations for my wife and I close to the Astrodome, which on paper, seemed like a good idea, until I realized we were in the heart of the red-light district! Think it was called the “Road Runner Hotel.” Let’s say this didn’t give her a good impression of my best friend, but then, I expected nothing less from him. Years later he and I would joke around about that auspicious weekend. There was a plus to all of this mayhem, OSU beat Baylor 24-14. One other caveat, the Astrodome wasn’t heated either.
So, for those that needed their memories jogged a bit, the winter of 83-84 was brutal across the board and yes, it was colder and icier than 2021. Pretty sad when a Damn Yankee, Okie has to provide Texas history, but someone has to do it.