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December 19, 2013

ABBOTT: Freezing and it's not even winter yet

The official start of winter is not yet here, yet most of Indiana is cold and snow covered. Even my town in southwestern Indiana, which rarely gets the big snows, experienced an early December storm.

Last week was the kind of week that, in 1982, made me escape Indiana for the warmer weather of Pinellas County, Fla. The year 1982 brought multiple weather horrors to northeastern Indiana. Snow and ice pelted us for weeks, followed by the inescapable rise of Fort Wayne’s three rivers. Then, the 100-year-flood arrived.

I worked for Indiana-Purdue at Fort Wayne in university relations. If managers were unavailable, I arrived early and called school cancellations to the local radio stations. The process then required using a special password — frequently changed so students couldn’t figure it out and call in their own cancellation.

My apartment was 2 miles from campus, and I was fortunate enough to have a garage. There’s a caveat, however. I couldn’t afford a garage door opener. The garage went unused in the winter.

The inevitable west winds blew several feet of snow against the garage door. No city slow plow rounded the corner, with garage access behind my building.

This meant I usually left my stylish, suave 1981 maroon Chevette in on-street parking overnight, and shoveled it out, before traversing on the plowed front street.

Show me a person who likes to shovel snow, and I’ll show you someone who has a big tractor with a super-sized blade.

That winter did me in. I found a job in Clearwater, Fla., and I moved away, gray kitty in tow.

Six years later I was back with a husband, a canary, and the same gray kitty.

I am a Hoosier, and no amount of warmed blood and sugary-soft white sand between my toes will change that. It is, however, my birth right to complain about it.

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