Be careful what you wish for…..

January 31, 2019

Just about a month ago, about everyone, including me, was wishing for a white Christmas.

Pat Maurer

Pat Maurer

It took a while for that wish to come true but when it was finally granted, it was really granted!

We have the snow now…thirteen inches out here on the Tobacco, and a thermometer reading that has barely moved above zero today (Wednesday).

Of course the storm, which has been named Jaden (who comes up with these “weather” names anyway?) brought our winter weather on with a vengeance.
Remember the “Blizzard of 76?” Nobody gave that one a name, at least not one you could use in polite company.

We were living in Concord back then, a little town of less than a thousand souls just about 20 miles southwest of Jackson. That storm hit us with more than 20 inches of snow. It not only closed schools, it closed just about everything including the freeway, state highways and all roads for more than four days.

I was the Editor of a little weekly paper in Homer, about ten miles away, back then. I remember calling my boss to tell him I couldn’t get out…of the door. Wind drifts had piled the snow up about four feet against it.

Jack was a member of the local fire department back then, and it wasn’t long before he dug us out and they showed up on snowmobiles to draft him into service. One of the first things those brave guys did was trek out into the country to rescue people.

Soon, living right in town, we were entertaining four extra children, who, belonging to another firefighter friend, (would have been on their own at the family farm) as well as our closest friends and their three youngsters while their dad, also a firefighter joined the others in their rescue efforts.

Living on a little dead end street my best buddy Jan and I, with the help of the ten youngsters, managed to do our part to help out the housebound seniors in the neighborhood. That involved dragging a sled, through sometimes waist-high drifts, to the grocery store and bakery downtown (about a half-mile away) and loading up with the things they desperately needed. The stores both stayed open until the shelves were empty and the supplies to make bread ran out at the bakery.

The firemen, in teams, got out to the out-of-town people in need with supplies, and with the help of the local road crews and their equipment, somehow were able to get those who needed medical treatment to the hospital nine miles away.

The National Guard, in six by six military vehicles (Jack said that’s what they are called) were out rescuing people stuck in their vehicles.

Of course, to our youngsters and their guests, it was the ultimate playground. When the plows finally made it down our street, the snow piles, some 15 feet tall, made for great sledding.

Despite the crisis, we really had a pretty good time helping out and spending the storm time together.

One of the best memories I have of that trying time is the way people went out of their way to help each other. Our little community seemed like just one big family, if only for a brief time.

I’m seeing that same neighborliness now, with our City police and County deputies volunteering to deliver Meals on Wheels meals to area seniors and neighbors checking on each other.

These days, it is much easier to keep up with the needs of others between cell phones and the internet. Of course we have been using both while monitoring the situation around here for the past couple of days.

Since we are staying in and it is bitter cold outside, we decided it would be a good day to make soup, so as I have been working on this week’s news articles, Jack has whipped up a big batch of White Chicken Chili for our supper and said he is going to make some cookies as well.

Later on, Granddaughter Alea will be coming over to spend some time with the “old folks” out here on the Tobacco.

All in all, not a bad day to wrap up the month I’d say. February will be here by the time this newspaper is out again. I just hope the weather reports predicting warmer temperatures are here in time to make the paper delivery for our people a little easier.

Stay warm, and remember spring is just a couple of months away!

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