WEIRD MACON: 1973 blizzard brings weirdest Macon moment for lawyer

January 3, 2014 

John Carey remembers watching a man try to set his snowbound driveway on fire to clear it during the blizzard of 1973.

Editor’s note: This piece is part of a continuing series called Macon in the Mirror. The project is being produced through a partnership involving the Center for Collaborative Journalism, Georgia Public Broadcasting and The Telegraph. The goal is to examine the community and convey your stories, passions and concerns.

John Carey, a lawyer in Macon, witnessed a strange sight during the Macon blizzard of 1973.

He was in the National Guard and because his unit had four-wheel drive vehicles, they were providing emergency services during the storm.

With drifts of snow piled as high as two feet, Carey and a driver were coming back into Macon along Houston Avenue from a motor pool on Guy Paine Road.

“The snow had drifted up to almost my chest against our back door,” Carey said. “I’m from Ohio, so I was familiar with snow, but I thought ‘Wow! This is a lot of snow.’”

As the men were driving, Carey watched a man take a stack of newspapers three-feet high to the front of his Houston Avenue home and spread the newspapers out across the driveway.

“It looked like he was squirting lighter fluid on it and trying to light it,” Carey said. “And, of course, it did light.”

He was trying to melt the snow because “of course, nobody had any snow shovels or knew what to do with it, so we sat there for a couple minutes and watched him,” Carey said.

The wind picked up as Carey and the driver watched.

“There was black soot and sometimes flaming newspapers that flew all over the neighborhood,” he said.

-- Haley Roney, Carl Williams and Conner Wood, Center for Collaborative Journalism

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