The Weatherman Kit

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By Jerry Lambert

(Dear Readers: I apologize for not publishing an article this past Monday. The reason for this omission will be revealed in my future post: Trapped in Toronto!)

When I was a kid, my brothers, sister and I always looked forward to visits from my Mom’s good friend Mary Lu. Over the years she became a fixture at our Christmas Eve family get-together.  I never quite understood why Mary Lu would always arrive with a stack of Sports Illustrated magazines. I loved to look at all the great photos, but a woman interested in sports? I didn’t get it. She would also arrive with some very unique gifts. Sometimes they were real head-scratchers, but we always enjoyed her visits. We also knew a lot of thought went into those presents.

One Christmas in particular, I received a Weather Prediction Kit. It was very cool. There was a barometer, thermometer, and a couple of other gauges for wind, tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes and volcanoes. Ok, I’m making some of those up, but you could calculate all sorts of different readings by using the handy dandy instruction guide. I wish I could say this lead to a successful career as a Meteorologist. Nope. It turns out I wasn’t a future Jerry Hodak (a famous Detroit weatherman). The only thing I really remember from all of those instruments and gauges is that if the barometer is falling, it generally meant that bad weather is on the way.

As I was checking out the Weather Channel app on my phone yesterday, something occurred to me. The days of my freestanding Weather Prediction Kit are long gone. With this app, just about anybody can become Jerry Hodak. That reminds me. I once met him at the Woods Theater when I was working there as an usher. He and his wife were bundled up like Nanook of the North and had come out to catch a movie. Of course, this was during a raging snowstorm. I couldn’t resist razzing him about the snow. He said, “Hey, it’s not my problem, I just tell you what’s coming.” Now that we all have a Weather Prediction Kit on our phones, it makes me a little sad. Another memory from my youth, replaced by technology. Oh well, time to bundle up and walk the hound. The app says it’s 23 degrees and snowing. Oh goody.

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