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Over 60... And Getting Younger: January 28, 2011

(Editor’s Note: Since Stanley Greenberg is on vacation this week, in this issue we present an encore of a column that originally ran on Jan. 28, 2005.)

The winter of 1948 prepared me for the future. The snowfall that winter was 24 inches and the East Bronx that I lived in came to a definite standstill. Life to me, a 14-year-old, was a series of basketball and stickball games with a little bit of junior high school thrown in. The snow was interfering with my athletic career.

Somehow, my friend and basketball buddy Herby and I got hold of a couple of shovels. We shoveled off the playground on the corner of Bryant Avenue and 176th Street and we shot baskets, played 21, One-on-One and Horse. We had been served sour lemons and we turned it into lemonade. Guts and ingenuity made for a memorable experience.

Recent weather reports promised gloom and doom; I usually take them with the proverbial grain of NaCl. I divide the prognostication by two and I don’t believe the sky is falling until I see six inches of snow on the ground. My wife, on the other hand, multiplies all weather reports by at least three. The end of the universe is approaching and we must call the children to warn them of the impending disaster.

On Saturday, Jan. 22, 2005, I followed the long line of cars into the Waldbaum’s parking lot. The Waldbaum’s from Jericho had moved to Broadway in Hicksville about three months ago. On this day, the weather reports predicting snow had caused a mad rush on the food staples and supplies at this ultra-modern supermarket. I was sent by Lorraine to get provisions. The store was packed. The check-out lines were long. The grocery carts were filled to the top. All the milk was gone. I bought organic milk at almost double the price. The panic was on! Chicken Little rules again!

All weekend plans have been canceled! Fifty-six years have passed since the winter of ’48. No shooting baskets in 2005. We are preparing to stay home, under heavy blankets and watch televised basketball and professional football until it chokes us into submission. We have food and shelter. Let the winds howl! Let the snow fall. In the words of King Lear on the heath, “Blow winds and crack your cheeks! Rage! Blow!” We are safe, our children are warned. Disaster is averted.

Let the elements do their worst. We are prepared!