Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Winter River

Not much to add to last nights post. Today's S&P 500 print is quite similar to the back to back prints on October 27 and 28th 2011. I missed my entries this week and will wait for resolution by weeks end of this move up one way or the other. My one major difference from the October set up is that back then everyone was really on board the bullish train where this time it's much more subdued. Maybe this will be "the" move up that finally breaks the old range. If it is, no need to be in a hurry.

On tap tonight is the story that explains why I hate the cold so much. Very fitting as we are having our first blast of cold temperatures right now.

The Winter River
I grew up in South Lowell. In Lowell there are two major rivers; the Merrimack and the Concord. The "Mighty" Merrimack is a large, swift river that is home to some of the best smallmouth fishing I know. It's great water and over the years has been cleaned up to an amazing degree.

I lived two blocks from the Concord. This is a medium river in size, and it moves very slow. Highly polluted and with heavy algae this river is home to monster carp and catfish.

In Junior High me and 3 other friends would always go out on weekend nights and find "stuff" to do. My Mom worked nights and I slept over a friend's house whose parents went away almost every weekend anyway. It used to be much colder when I was a kid, or at least I think so, because the Concord river would freeze up in deep winter quite a ways out from the banks. The middle usually stayed unfrozen. A visual, best I could find:
At that age you are getting to the point where you both want to impress girls and be more "ballsy" than your friends. It's not a good mix and I imagine safer now that the number of Facebook friends or Twitter followers for kids is social leverage and money, not actions.

So what we would do is walk out as far as possible to the center of the frozen river to see who would push it the furthest.

Writing that I can feel the set up but I can tell you at the time it was perfectly normal.

We had done it for years. The worst thing that ever happened was some loud cracking and some fast moving feet back to the bank. Until the last night I ever did it.

My friend J was always the most daring. No one really ever tried to beat him, he was nuts. That night he went out a ways and we all followed. He kept going and I followed for a bit. When I looked back my other two friends were a bit further back than made me comfortable so I stopped. J kept easing out and I turned around to go back to the bank. That's when the cracking started.

Multiple cracks and moving fast. Friend J started back fast towards us and I was about to take off when I had a thought. A cowardly thought and not some hero idea for the ages. I thought if something happened to J I would be in the kind of trouble you just don't get out of. Noble I know, but the truth. So I waited for him to get about to me before starting off for the bank. The fissures were faster. We went in the river.

I can't explain the cold. Maybe some of you crazies that do those winter swims know what it's like. If this happened now I am sure I would have a heart attack. It was shocking and terrifying. And I wanted OUT.

The edge of the bank ice was pretty close and I could just touch the river bottom with my feet so I made my way over. I got my arms up on the ice but I was very heavy with the winter coat, gloves, etc. I could not lift myself up onto the ice shelf. Friend J had made his way behind me but could do no better. We both tried again and the ice broke again. And this was the life saver.

Maybe enough distance had been gained, maybe there was a rock under the surface, but now I could get enough of a push with my legs to get up onto the ice shelf. And it held. J followed in the same spot and we were back on the ice closer to the bank. I was exhausted and the smoke that was my breathe pouring out into the night air looked like a chimney. The other two friends had grabbed branches (thanks guys!!!) but we trudged our way back to shore.

I lived maybe two short blocks away, but there was NO way I was going home like this. Brother and sisters would see and tell on me for sure. So we all walked the mile and a half to the friends house that we were staying at. It was most difficult. I cannot really describe it. Just wanted to get inside and get the crusting clothes off.

At the house neither of us could get the wet clothes off, it had frozen up in place and was too hard to pull off. Someone grabbed some kitchen shears and we cut off our pants (which could stand on their own!) and sweaters and T-shirts. The coats we were able to salvage. I remember thinking the skin over my knees was going to split it was so cold and tight. It took about 5 hours under blankets to finally feel normal again.

I never did that activity again, and to be honest I never really did much in the winter time ever again. I have hated the winter and the cold ever since. This is not all that helpful living here, but what can you do. Retire early in the Bahamas! That will work.

Have a good night.


Jennifer Hillier said...

I'm freezing just reading this! Good thing you didn't get frostbite and lose any appendages. No wonder you hate the winter.

EconomicDisconnect said...

Exactly! Thanks for reading Jen.

David Batista said...

Oh my, and I thought *I've* done some stupid things in my youth! :) But, actually, that sounds exactly like the type of stunt I might have pulled. Sometimes I wonder how any boys live long enough to see adulthood.

Great story, though. I'm glad to finally know where your aversion comes from.

GawainsGhost said...

It doesn't ge cold down here very often. I've only seen snow twice in my life. Once, when I was 6, in San Antonio. I got to build a snowman.

The only other time was when I took my mother to midnight mass in 2007. We came out and it was snowing, for the first time in 200 years.

She kept running around taking pictures os snow. I stayed inside and kept warm. Go figure.

The Sovereign Bohemian said...

For some reason, this reminds me of "It's A Wonderful Life". Glad you're still around to tell the story.

Happy New Year!

The Sovereign Bohemian said...

For some reason, this reminds me of "It's A Wonderful Life". Glad you're still around to tell the story.

Happy New Year!

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