The snowstorm this week reminded me of the years I worked at a radio station in small-town Iowa. It was a 70-mile round trip commute from where we lived, so whenever I would otherwise be snowbound at the office, I had a standing invitation to stay in town with the station’s GM, Gene, and his wife. They lived in a fabulous house they had hopes of converting into a B&B one day. She was a great cook and he liked to drink beer, so a snowy night could become a highly congenial, and frequently a highly alcoholic, occasion. I kept a bag of clothes in my truck so I was ready just in case.
One icy night, I was relaxing in the hot tub with a beer in hand (did I mention they had an indoor hot tub?) when Gene tossed me the phone and said, “Call your wife.” And so I did. Ann was back home in our little apartment, where it was freezing cold because the electricity was out. Just before I called, the cat had nearly set itself on fire thanks to the candles she had lit. For some reason, she was not especially interested in hearing about the good time I was having.
This kind of thing was partly practical. It was better to stay overnight in town than to end up sliding off a rural Iowa highway in the dark. But it was partly because that’s how radio people roll. When the weather gets bad in the winter, we want to be able to get to work and do our jobs, because we know listeners are counting on us.