Some of my blog readers might not know that there is a blizzard heading straight for New England today; the weather puppets are calling it “Nemo.” As I cracked the blinds at the early morning blogging hour, a light snow was falling and the wind had picked up.
I got a call from Slim yesterday; she wanted to talk about the blizzard and reminisce a little bit about one of our former co-workers, Mr. Next Door Neighbor. I hadn’t forgotten about Mr. NDN; in fact, it was a day just like yesterday which always makes me think of Mr. NDN, who we affectionately called “the weatherman.”
Scholars tell us that Aristotle was the father of meteorology, writing the classic tome Meteorology in 350 B.C. Back in the days before the internet, farmers were probably amateur weathermen. Spending their time outdoors and observing the patterns of nature, they were able to predict basic weather patterns with some reasonable certainty. Things really took off for the science of meteorology when the connection between weather as a natural observed occurrence and the principles of mathematics and physics was made. Throw in a high-powered computer which can process numbers faster than I can type “Farmers’ Almanac” and it’s the modern weather age.
MR. NDN was one of those people who like to define himself as “an amateur weatherman.” Such an amateur is keenly attuned to every change in temperature, humidity, and barometric pressure. Whereas the average person might look quickly at a weather forecast in the morning before leaving the house, Mr. NDN had a daily repertoire of weather sites he visited before he would leave for the office. He had connections at The Weather Channel, too. His specialty, though, was his understanding of the charts and graphs presented by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA.
He showed me the weather map for Hurricane Katrina almost a week before it descended on land and it was a source of great concern for him.
Being a local weather guru must have been tiresome for Mr. NDN; like a psychic with a premonition, his weather worries would smolder and burn hot throughout the day until some factual spark would ignite him into a full Paul Revere-like weather warning:
“Oh my God! We’re going to have a flood of Biblical proportions; start filling the sand bags now!”
“Damn it, the wind is going to blow my plane off the tarmac tonight; I’ll never get home for the holidays.”
Mr. NDN didn’t like New England’s weather and one day he finally said “I’m done with this.” He packed up his bags and moved to a warmer climate. I guess he’d had all he could take. I miss his prognostications. He brought energy and a fiery passion to weather delivery that today’s modern weather puppets are missing. After all, if it’s just meteorological theatre, it ought to be award-winning theatre, capable of driving anxious hordes to the store to buy the last jugs of milk.
Wherever you are today, Mr. NDN, thanks for the great memories; this shovel full of snow is for you.