The Rotary Club of Ipswich is not a collection of people easily daunted. But then this is not a winter for using the adverb “easily” easily.
The Rotarians were planning to demonstrate their undauntability by participating in a frightful annual fundraising event called the “Polio Polar Plunge.” Three hundred otherwise rational people planned to jump into the frigid waters of Long Beach — not in California; in Gloucester, Massachusetts — on Saturday, January 31st. The ultra-worthwhile cause: eradicating polio in the last three countries on earth where it still plagues us — Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria.
But Mother Nature didn’t give a rip about the cause, worthwhile or not. I imagine she staggered out of bed that morning — hung over, and angry about it — looked out of her smoke-stained bedroom window, gazed down at the Town of Ipswich, growled “This ain’t Nigeria!”, and unleashed that nasty blizzard out of sheer spite.
Consequently, even the crazy extremists — intent on flinging themselves into the icy waters of the Atlantic Ocean — in the dead of winter — couldn’t get through the snow and wind to the fling-point to do their flinging.
So the Rotary Club’s annual Polio Polar Plunge has been moved to Saturday, March 7th, at 10:30 a.m. The weather will almost certainly be better by then. The tragedy of this postponement, of course, is that we may never get to see Rotarians Bob Gravino, George Gray, Keith Harris, Ingrid Miles, and Superintendent of Schools Bill Hart hauled out of the Atlantic Ocean in the form of human popsicles.
Meanwhile, Ipswich remains buried in record-shattering mountains of snow. Ice hockey tournaments have been postponed; apparently you can have too much ice for hockey. Tedford’s sold out of those chemical pellets you use to combat ice dams on your roof; unfortunately none of these customers have yet been able to find their roofs.
The warning sign at Hood Pond — “Caution: Ice May Not Be Safe” — is mostly obscured by snow. The sign seems silly now, anyway, since you would need to tunnel, drill, or somehow burrow through the snow-equivalent of Mount Washington to even reach the ice. It’s also silly to suggest that the ice might not be strong enough to walk on. It’s obviously strong enough to support the 261,360,078 pounds of snow already parked on it.
The waves of snowstorms hitting Ipswich have led to a record number of other cancellations. Kindly take note of the following:
- The Outer Linebrook Build-a-Snowman competition has been suspended. We are still looking for little Brandon out there somewhere.
- The annual Bialek Park snowball fight has been postponed until we can find the park.
- The Heart-Safe Snow-Shoveling seminar will be rescheduled after a successor is found for lecturer Kerwin Fladge, whose funeral is Monday.
Also please note: It has been rumored that operating a snow plow in Ipswich requires a permit from the Town of Ipswich. This can’t possibly be true. Town Hall is an enormous igloo. Someone has dug a tiny tunnel in to the Collector’s window so Ann Wright can sell beach stickers, but beyond this, I don’t know of anything happening at Town Hall.
One final suggestion for those who, out of the kindness of their hearts, wish to continue feeding the birds. Normally you could toss birdseed out onto the snow in your yard. Regrettably, the snow banks are now so high, only Olympic-champion javelin-throwers can get the birdseed launched high enough for the birds to find it. We are happy to offer this simple do-it-yourself solution:
- Place a reasonable amount of birdseed into a paper cupcake liner.
- Find one of your flip-flops. Yes, that footwear you can almost remember wearing to the beach a hundred years ago, last time it was warm around here.
- Turn the flip-flop upside down, and carefully place the cupcake liner of birdseed near the toe of the sole.
- Holding the toe firmly, carefully pull the heel end of the flip-flip down. Feel the tension in the rubber? This is a good thing.
- Extend your arms at an angle to aim your makeshift catapult at a point above the top of the snow bank.
- Let go of the toe. The cupcake liner full of birdseed should be propelled through the air and onto the snow far beyond your view.
Warning: If this procedure leaves you with a load of birdseed in your hair, your angle was too high.
Caution: If your launch is successful, but you subsequently hear a yelp and a stream of curse words, you just nailed your neighbor.