December 22: lots going on

Yesterday was the anniversary of two pretty important events from my younger years which I recall very well.

The first was in 1984, when Bernhard Goetz was accosted on a New York City subway by four African-American teenagers. Goetz was deathly afraid—and rightfully so—of the youths mugging him and possibly doing worse, so Goetz shot them in self-defense.

As could be expected, the shootings caused a major uproar, and as you can expect, the split came along racial lines. If you were white, you cheered Goetz as a hero for defending himself. If you were black, you decried Goetz as taking the law into his own hands.

Goetz did what he should have to protect his life. I would have done the same thing.

He was charged with illegal possession of a firearm, but he did not get charged for anything relating to the shooting.

The other event was in 1989 when it snowed in New Orleans. It was only half an inch, but in south Louisiana, where measurable snow may occur once a decade, it caused traffic nightmares, especially in a city with as many elevated bridges as New Orleans. If you know roads, elevated surfaces are first to ice, and all around the Big Easy that Friday before Christmas, cars were sliding into each other and into barriers left and right.

My dad had to cross one of those high bridges to get home from his job at Air Products and Chemicals in the far northeast corner of New Orleans. The bridge crosses the Intercoastal Waterway and provides access to St. Bernard Parish, where my family lived.

As for me, the snow didn’t matter. School was already out for two weeks for the holiday break. I was in the eighth grade at Brother Matin at the time.

In Kansas, a snow like that would not have been enough to disrupt anything.

The snow wasn’t the worst part of Christmas weekend 1989, at least for most. It was the bitter cold which accompanied the snow.

Temperatures for two nights dropped into the low teens, and in many areas well away from the city, they were in the single digits, and the Saturday before Christmas, the high temperatures were in the low to mid 20.

All over the New Orleans area, pipes burst, spraying water all over driveways and caushing people to go without some of the basci conveniences of life, such as taking a shower, cooking and drinking.

Since New Orleans is below sea level, pipes are above ground. They must be wrapped during a freeze to protect them from bursting. My dad always wrapped the pipes during the winter and never took off the protective covering until the spring, so we never had a problem like that at 224 Jaguar Drive. That isn’t an issue at our house in Russell, since my grandfather had the foresight to bury the pipes below ground.

Fans of the New Orleans Saints also recall December 22 fondly. It was on that date in 1991 the franchise won its first division championship, defeating the Cardinals 27-3 in Tempe to clinch the NFC West. I can go on and on as to how the Saints were in the NFC West, but I’ll save that for another day when I’m bored.

I also remember December 22, 2007, simply because I was stuck in the Overland Park Marriott due to a snowstorm which dumped eight inches on the area. This was before the OP Marriott renovated its rooms, and I can recall a green love seat, drab blue carpet, and an old tube-style TV inside an armoire. Dreary. The only good news was there is an Applebee’s across the street, so I could get a meal to go.

Actually, the rooms inside the Marriott on the Country Club Plaza in KC looked exactly like the ones at Overland Park until they were renovated in 2010. I’ve only stayed at the Plaza twice, and each time, I’ve used points. FIrst, the rooms are expensive due to the prime location, and second, it costs $27 a day to valet park. Worse, traffic on Main Street is hell trying to get out.

It’s now December 23, and I”m back at Buffalo Wild Wings. Brittany Davidson is serving for the first time in four months, and of course I have to sit with her. I will go back to Russell tomorrow morning and then come back to KC Friday. I’m getting a ridiculous rate at the Courtyard Marriott on Tiffany Springs–$70 per night (including tax) through New Year’s Eve.

About David

I am a sportswriter for a group of weekly newspapers in small towns across northern Kansas. I grew up in New Orleans, went to college at LSU and wandered in the wilderness until Hurricane Katrina finally put me on the path to my current job.

Posted on December 23, 2014, in History, Personal and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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