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'Hair' today, there's snow tomorrow

The snowstorm that pounded New England last week was a doozy, but couldn't hold a shovel to the February hit of 1978. Everyone who lived through it has a story to tell.

A neighbor of mine had a rather unusual one: Leonard Johnson hadn't missed a day of work in 12 years. And no silly "storm of the century" was going to stop him this day.

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Mr. Johnson, bald as a bagel, had recently bought a $39 toupee. He looked like, well, a Chia pet in desperate need of water. But that didn't bother Johnson. He and his hairpiece were not to be parted - so to speak.

Then, while driving to work that stormy day, avec la toupee neatly centered on his dome, his car skidded off the road and plowed into a snowdrift.

"I got out of the car and shoveled like mad under each wheel." Still stuck. "Then I grabbed some wire coat hangers out of the trunk and threw a bunch under each tire," he reminisced the other day.

It worked. He peeled out of the drift and spun onto the street, then walked back and gathered the hangers and split.

"Then as I was driving off, I looked in the rearview mirror. I was bald as a billiard ball. My hair was gone!" After walking back and searching for his toupee, he found it plastered against the side of a tree.

"After work, I took it, washed it, and blew it dry, but it looked like a shingle," he lamented with a laugh. "I just threw it in the trash."

That was the end of Johnson's toupee days, but not those New England snowstorms, or stories.

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(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor