When My Buick Became My Fortress of Solitude by
(54 Stories)

Prompted By Snow Day

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Ah, the New England Blizzard of 1978. A storm so legendary it should have its own theme song, sung by a baritone with a healthy dose of post-traumatic stress. You know, something like “The Snow Drifts Were High, the Power Was Out, and My Shovel Became My Best Friend (And It Judged Me Silently).”

In Arlington, MA where I lived we were not spared the whiteout wrath. Picture this: me, a wide-eyed 20-something, armed with a plastic shovel that looked like it belonged on a children’s sandbox (because, well, it did). I dug, I huffed, I puffed, and managed to unearth my trusty Buick, christened “Rusty” for reasons unrelated to that current situation.

Victory! Except… not quite. Stepping out of my car turned snow-fort, I realized the world outside was a marshmallowy wasteland. Drifts towered like Arctic mountains, mocking my optimism. Any attempt to drive would have resulted in Rusty becoming a permanent snow sculpture with me as its shivering, frostbitten driver.

So, here I was, inside of my snowy Buick castle. My domain? The limited radius of my shoveling prowess. Entertainment? The radio, crackling with static and promises of a “major thaw” that seemed about as likely as winning the lottery with a chewed-up Megabucks ticket.

But hey, a blizzard like this is practically a rite of passage in New England. It’s when the true grit of us New England peoples shine through, or at least, when we discover our hidden talent for hoarding snacks. Because let’s face it, overcoming a blizzard without a well-stocked pantry is like facing a dragon without a sword (I myself would need at least a decent pizza cutter).

Thankfully, my foresight (or maybe just a severe case of potato chip-induced addiction) had me prepared. My fridge and pantry shelves had become a cornucopia of questionable frozen dinners, dubious canned goods, and enough raw pasta to fuel a small army of college students. I may not have been able to leave my snowy castle but I could conquer Mount Snackrifice with the gusto of a famished Yeti.

Days turned into nights, the only clock the rising and setting sun filtering through my blizzard-blurred windows. My social life, already questionable, became nonexistent. But in the quiet solitude, a strange sense of camaraderie bloomed. I waved at my neighbors through the window, their equally snowbound existence mirrored in their bewildered expressions. We were all in this together, united by our shared struggle against the Great White Buffalo (or whatever you call a blizzard with a superiority complex).

Finally, the thaw arrived. Slowly, the snowdrifts receded, revealing a world blinking in the sunlight like a sleepy owl. ‘Rusty’, freed from his icy prison, sputtered back to life with a cough and a wheeze. The world outside, though still scarred by the storm, was slowly returning to normal.

As I drove through the slush-filled streets, the experience left a strange imprint. Sure, it was inconvenient, messy, and frankly, a little scary. But it was also oddly… liberating? A reminder that sometimes, the most important things are the simple ones: a warm car, a full fridge, and the knowledge that even in the face of a blizzard, the human spirit (and a well-stocked pantry) can prevail.

So, the next time a winter storm threatens to turn my world into one giant snowball I will remember the Blizzard of ’78, embrace the absurdity, stock up on snacks, and definitely invest in a better shovel. Because who knows, I might just find myself the unlikely hero of my own snowbound adventure – again. Consider yourselves warned and don’t blame me if your only companions are a chorus of hungry squirrels and a fridge full of questionable leftovers.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a sudden craving for pasta and a strong urge to check the weather forecast. You know, just in case…


Profile photo of Kevin Driscoll Kevin Driscoll
(Mostly) Vegetarian, Politically Progressive, Daily Runner, Spiritual, Helpful, Friendly, Kind, Warm Hearted and Forgiving. Resident of Braintree MA.

Characterizations: funny, well written


  1. Joe Worth says:

    Great description of that blizzard! I lived through it in Billerica, MA, which had the storm-high four feet of snow. I left school in Allston when the snow started. The normal 45-minute drive to Billerica took almost six hours! Entire state was closed from Monday until Friday. First – and last – time Harvard University closed for weather since 1636!

  2. Thanx for your snowy tale Kevin.
    I remember the 1978 east coast blizzard that hit us in New York too.

    Now we have a weekend house in Connecticut and bought a 7 cubic foot freezer chest so we could stock up for those snowbound New England winters!

  3. Khati Hendry says:

    Great description of the big blizzard and witty as usual! Really enjoyed your writing. And sometimes in the face of erstwhile catastrophe, there is indeed community and peace sometimes possible, at least until the potato chips run out.

  4. Love your focus on the snacks, Kevin. I can relate. it was around the time of the blizzard of ’78 that I discovered that a persistent sound that went on a couple weeks–one I had compared to rodents cracking open peanuts in the shell and scarfing them down–really WAS the sound of mice doing exactly that, on top of my refrigerator, where, out of my sight line, I had forgotten I left an open bag of peanuts some weeks earlier.

  5. Zeque says:

    Mt. Snackrifice. Bravo. They’ll get my potato chips from me when they pull them from my cold, dead hand.

  6. A great description and snack survival. I wish my triple AAA car had arrived with nuts and cheese. The storm I fear is not so much the snow which gives me a break from work and warm moments with my wife and dog, but the following road ice which will leave me not only cold and stranded but also unable to walk away from the car without a fall.

  7. Laurie Levy says:

    I love your description of the snowed-in experience. The late 70s brought many snowy winters to the midwest as well. I remember crying after wrangling 3 little kids into all of their snow gear just to get to the store to sock up on provisions.

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