Did you enjoy yesterday’s weather? Near 60° with similar temperatures promised all week. That chorus you hear is the raised voices of my fellow Hoosiers heralding the coming of Spring. But I am not fooled by this turn. See, I’ve been down this road before.
Early March, 1986. I was twenty-years old and living on Martin Street in Muncie with my best friend and a body-building, pot-dealing dwarf. It had been a long, cold winter, but that first week of March came on like a miracle. Temperatures soared into the 70s.
Brent and I spent that week, shirtless and drunk, sitting on the wall of our brick porch drinking from a couple of kegs and coercing every co-ed passing by to join us. It was a week-long party. Girls were in bikini tops. Guys were in nothing but cut-off shorts, throwing frisbees in the street, all while Brent and I held court, like Bacchanalian Gods of Winter’s Passing.
We took turns with the music. Brent favored Jimmy Buffet, the Grateful Dead, and occasionally some Berlin, while I spun the classics — Zeppelin, Tull, Purple, Rainbow, The Doors, Fleetwood Mac, and, for good measure, the original Jesus Christ Superstar album.
We reveled in reckless abandon, in a surreal cascade of youthful decadence. It was a magical time, with a sea of faces swimming in and out of our porch party paradise. For years, Brent swore Robert Plant partied with us for three days. Admittedly, that cat looked one helluva lot like him.
Brent and I pow-wowed early on and decided to cut off our gas. After all, it was 70° and a slice of heaven outside. Why would we need heat… especially when we could get our deposit back and party even more.
So we did.
Cue a week later.
Old Man Winter was not through with us. The mercury fell, with nights dipping into single digits and the daylight hours barely climbing into the teens. Snow fell. Lots of it. As in more than a foot. And we had no heat. Brent and I huddled in the kitchen with the stove on, smoking Marlboro cigarettes, sharing cold pork’n’beans from a can, and drinking Skol and Little Kings.
Looking back on it now, I’m not sure which week was more enjoyable, the one in the sun, or the one spent sitting on the kitchen floor with my best friend, talking about life and our plans for the future and wondering if we were ever going to be warm again.
Yeah, definitely that week on the kitchen floor.
Today marks six weeks since Brent crossed over into the Realm Eternal, where, for him, it is everwarm and springtime. But for one week back in 1986, a cold, grimy, yellow-linoleum floor was a little slice of heaven for the two of us.
Ramble on, buddy. I miss ya.