All you have to do is say “1982” to an Irish person over the age of 40, like me, and their eyes will immediately roll in their head, their facial muscles will twitch with paroxysms of glee, and they will orgasm, hard, multiple times, at the thought of The Big Snow, just as I am doing nooooowwwwrgghhhh…
I remember every minute of it. It started to snow at the stroke of midnight, New Year’s Eve, and continued for 365 days. This was not the pathetic day-long dribbles we get now. This was proper snow. We didn’t speak in inches, we talked of leagues. It snowed so much, I was able to open my bedroom window on the first floor and dive right in, like Scrooge Mc Duck, swimming in his money.
I was five years old, and my folks would lob me out in the mornings in nothing but my 1980’s paisley pyjamas. But, I can count on one hand all the times I felt cold, because I was happy, and also because I only have one finger now.
But I would give that finger up to have 1982 all over again, because this was blessed snow, bestowed on us faithful servants by God almighty Himself, not the stupid, insubstantial, spiritless, secular snow of our oh-so-modern Ireland. The snow of 1982 had soul. You could make a snowman and a snow-woman and when you got up the next morning they would have made a snowbaby, just as God intended.
It was such a wonderful time. No-one had to go to school, or Rathangan. Every morning, auld Mr. Brennan himself would show up at your door, riding his Polar Bear, with a loaf of freshly-baked bread, like a self-raising Santa Claus.
And at nights, we would gather around the fireplace, warming our ever-reducing digits on an unlit briquette, waiting for the snow in our cups to melt, so we could drink it, which, of course, it never did. So we’d eat it, and pretend it was HB vanilla icecream. And then we’d bury our dead, and go to bed, besides ourselves with the joy of it all.
Unfortunately, when 1982 came to an end, it was more disappointing than we could have imagined. For a start, when the snow thawed, it turned out that Rathangan was still there. But mostly, we knew that God would never bestow such a glorious snow upon us again, because by then we were starting to choose immoral things, like actually lighting fires, and fully-functioning hands, and flying Ryan Air.
So, you enjoy your Devil’s dust today, but know that nothing will ever be like the Holy Snow of 1982. Forever and ever, NNnnngghhhhhmen.