It’s been a little cold across most of the eastern and central part of the country. The high in Tampa, Florida yesterday was a 49, but as I point out to my friends to the north, it was a humid 49. It was our first sub-50 high temperature in over three years.
But compared to some of the colder weather back in the 80’s, this was nothing.
On December 26, 1983, I remember going to McDonalds with my mother and one of my aunts. It was one of those mornings which you had to wait in the parking lot for your breakfast because it was taking longer than normal to prepare the “fast” food. We swung by the old Indian Rocks Bank time and weather scoreboard that would swing around Indian Rocks Road back in the day…the thermometer read 20 degrees.
Then there was January 28, 1986…some of you may remember what happened that day.
By the night of December 23, 1989, a Saturday night that became Sunday morning, I was working at a local radio station, WTAN in Clearwater, Florida. I went in at 9pm for my midnight to 7am shift which consisted of taped programming for the first six hours and running records for a gospel show in the final hour hosted by one of the nicest men I’ve ever met in my life, Rev. J.T. Gardner.
The reason why I went in at 9am was two fold. One, there were fears that night that the Bay area would get freezing rain, if not some snow. Secondly, the board op before me was throwing a party, and I threw back a few beers. By midnight…let’s just say it was a good thing I didn’t have to speak on the air that night. I was sloshed!
Now the good part about working there was there was a 45 minute period or so between commercials, so I’d just let the tape run while I had a small timer on me to keep track of when I had to get back to the studio to play the next set of commercials, cueing up the tape for the next 45 minute on-air period. Sometimes, I went to the Pick Kwik on Ft. Harrison and Court Street and got a few snacks or whatever I needed to get through the night.
But on this night, I used that period to sleep off my drunkeness.
By 3am, I was fresh as a daisy. I bundled up and went outside of the station which was then located off of Pierce Street where the bridge to Clearwater Beach sits now. I could look up in the street lights and see snow flakes, melting before they hit the ground. One of the local stations was running a movie called “Deadly Game” and updating the plummeting temperature. It had gotten to 24 degrees that night, with a wind chill below zero.
There was no heat in the studio, so it wound up being the only night in my short radio career I worked with a blanket around my body to keep warm.
So pish-posh to your polar vortex, hype meisters. I’ve seen colder.