Tuesday, January 11, 2011

These are the great snows of my life

Another week, another blizzard.

Sunday night brought eight inches of snow to our sleepy town. I feel like I'm getting used to the snow -- like this is the new norm. Monday morning, I drove into work for half a day. There were literally only two other cars on the road. I thought I did fairly well considering my limited previous experience (which includes both a 270-degree spin as well as the mailbox incident). I suppose I have to credit my new-found snowy-road driving skills to the DK Summit Course on Mario Kart.

I've made snow creme, a snowman (aka "got my Frosty on), and a snow angel, thrown snow balls, had hot chocolate, and attempted to go sledding on a knee board (didn't work). I'm not sure what more I can do, aside from building a cozy fire. And the last time I tried that the landlord seemed a little perturbed.

Do you have any idea how rare it is for us to have two snowman-able snows in one winter? It hasn't happened in over four thousand years. OK, maybe not that long, but I can't recall it ever happening. Of course, I also can't recall what I had for supper last night, so take that as you will.

It has gotten me to thinking about significant snows of the past that I've experienced. The first one that came to mind was the ice storm of '85.

I'm pretty sure it was a Thursday or Friday morning in late January or early February. I was eleven and still living with my parents at the time. The power went out very early. I remember lying in bed and hearing these thunderous, window-rattling booms and seeing what looked like green lightning through the windows. I thought it must literally be thunder, but Dad said that the transformers were exploding.

Dad had to go to work regardless. They had a generator where he worked, and since we had no power or heat, he loaded us all in the car -- Mom, my sister and me -- and off we went. We didn't get far.

What looked like six or seven inches of peaceful, unblemished snow turned out to be several inches of snow covered with a thick, solid sheet of ice. Dad must not have known that because as soon as he backed out of the carport, the old Monte Carlo hit the ice and skidded straight into the ditch. A cop with tire chains pulled us out, I think, and carried Dad on into work. Fortunately, that's the only time I ever saw Dad carried away in a patrol car.

I don't remember how long we were without power, but I don't think more than a day. Of course, living in town we were among the first to get power back. Others went without it for days. I do distinctly remember the power coming back on before the cable did and playing Combat on the Atari 2600 for hours. The rest of that extended weekend was spent playing in the snow and ice. It was so slick you could have about sledded uphill.

I fully expected to be out of school for a couple of days -- by the end of the weekend, most everything had melted -- but then we wound up being out of school for at least two more days the next week, too. Counting Saturday and Sunday, we were out of school for five or six days straight. Talk about hitting the snow-day lottery.

It is true that the South completely shuts down with even an inch or two of snow. But never in my life were things shut down for as long as they were during the ice storm of '85. I've never seen anything like it before or since.

"I wonder if she thinks about Jackson Hole. Nights beside the fire and angels in the snow..."


  1. I love the story of your childhood icing.

    I'm happy you are experiencing the snow this year, there must be a reason, and one day it will be revealed, and you will write about it. A win win for us.

  2. It's funny, because when I think of the south, I assume it's snowy there every winter! Goes to show how fab my geography is :-)
    I miss snow...I think snow was the 2nd best part of living in Oregon!!! And it's funny, 'cause I learned to drive in it in Mario Kart too!! :-P
    Just relax and enjoy the quiet beauty of snow...I personally love walking at night in the snow. The silence and crackling of the world is amazing!

  3. The south is funny like that...closing down for just a few inches...where we got 6-8 inches and still carry on like normal. Although DH did get to go in later the morning after it first fell. The roads are always packed with folks who don't know what they are doing out there.

    I'm glad you got some good snow! Maybe you could fire up the grill on your back porch.

  4. That line about your landlord just had me in stitches. I remember a certain fire I had once that my landlord didn't take too kindly to, either...

    You Southerners are interesting: getting excited about the white stuff?? Crazy ;) Also, I must concur with Renee: if we got 6-8 inches, school *might* be delayed if it was wet and heavy and plows couldn't get out. Delayed - like 2 hrs. Powdery snow they'd be going no matter what.

    Enjoy the great snows of your life. I'm sure they'll melt far before you're ready.

  5. Cooper - Thanks, Miss Cooper. Yes, I shall write about the reason, as soon as I figure out what it is, though I cannot promise there will be any rhyme.

    MrsOdell - We usually get some flurries at least once a year, but it's a long long way from what I'd consider "snowy." :)

    I agree! The world is never so quiet and peaceful as when it snows.

    Renee - Yeah, I noticed that the second day. I was creeping along at a nice, safe 20-25 mph and saw a couple of cars pretty much flying.

    Good idea. You know I already have a screen door. Ah, the cool, evening breezes of Anytown, USA.

    TC - Of course, I was kidding about my fire O:)

    That's another atypical thing about this one. Normally, any snow we get is gone by the next day. But this has hung around, on its fourth day now.

  6. Enjoy the snow? Made snowcream yet?

    I laughed at the time you saw your dad in a patrol car... It reminded me of a time when I was in High School and was called to the office and told that I had to call my dad at the Police Dept at a local beach. I wondered what my dad could have done, but it turned out that his motor on his boat wasn't running and someone pulled him to the docks by the police station and he needed a way to get to his vehicle with the trailer to pick up his boat--so I got to leave so for an hour.

  7. Here, we rarely get plain snow. We get from hell ice storms.

    Stay warm, Bone!

  8. Brings back lots of memories but of course all my memories have more snow and more ice. The longest we were without power due to ice is about three weeks. I got used to the sponge baths but the one pot meals on a camp stove outside on the back stoop got old real fast!

  9. Bone you have a facination with the police lately. So how did your Dad get home?

    I'm glad you have the snow and you can keep it on that side of the Mississippi please, please.

  10. I don't think the South is equipped to deal with snow so every inch equals five to ten somewhere else
    I too loved the story of your childhood snow days. In NY we would get one day off even for massive blizzards so you really hit the snow day lottery. I loved snow days. My favorite days of school!!!!

  11. Sage - Yep, the snow creme was good. First time I've made any in many, many years.

    There's nothing like sittin' around trading dad stories :)

    MamaZen - Will do. My toes got cold the other night so I put them in the dryer - 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

    Ed - So is that anything like cooking in a crock pot?

    PennyCandy - I know! I must be subconsciously jonesing to be incarcerated.

    You know, I assume the police brought him home, too. But I don't recall for sure.

    Pia - I think that's a good rule of thumb. So we basically had 40 inches of snow. There, I think that sounds much better :)

  12. We finally in the midwest got some snow. not too much but
    the kids havent had school for 3 days. just insane. we got alot less than other places around the world.

    I think its pretty if you get to stay home. but not if you have to be out driving in it.

  13. It takes about a flake and a half for London to shut down completely. We are seriously not used to snow here... which is great, because it's becoming more frequent and it's so impossible to go anywhere that there's nothing to do but stay at home and play in it!

  14. It takes about a flake and a half for London to shut down completely. We are seriously not used to snow here... which is great, because it's becoming more frequent and it's so impossible to go anywhere that there's nothing to do but stay at home and play in it!

  15. Im jealous! I would love to have a snow day!