Monday, December 17, 2007

"All that deep deep deep snow, all that snow had to go."

We got a pretty good amount of snow over the weekend. Being a true Canadian, my first reaction is to cross my arms and say, "It's not as much as I expected we'd get. Eh?"

Don't get me wrong; it's the most snow we've gotten in years. But I remember...

THE GREAT BLIZZARD OF 1977 (seven, seven, seven...)

And let me tell you, this was some good snow, but this was no blizzard.

I asked my mom about that famous blizzard. I had memories of it, but I was only 6 or 7 years old, depending on what half of winter it took place in. My little sister would have been four years old.

I remember when the truck stopped.

We were at the curve in the road right before our farm. Normally we could see the buildings from there, but we couldn’t see anything but white. There was snow inside the cab of the truck. My parents calmly discussed what to do next. Now that I’m older than they were at the time, the quiet rational discussion seems funny to me. Those two rarely discuss anything calmly.

I don’t recall the decision to get out and walk, but I do remember that we got to our neighbour’s house. This was only a quarter of a mile from our own house. We just couldn’t get home.

I remember the basement- panelling and orange carpet, just like every well behaved bungalow of the time period- and I remember that the next morning, their youngest son built a wall of cereal boxes around him at the breakfast table. I guess he wasn’t thrilled about all the guests.

Mom filled me in on some missing details, and here I am, thirty years later, finally realizing the full impact of this storm from an adult perspective.

Another neighbour was behind us on the road. Their truck stopped behind ours. The two of them walked to the corner with us.

The next day, the men went out to find the pickup trucks.

Yes, find.

They were buried in the snowbanks. Only a few spaces of colour stuck out.

When the guys had the trucks dug out, they couldn’t get them started. That’s because the engine compartments were full of snow. Full of hard packed snow.

I don’t know if you’re familiar with the mid-50s Ford trucks, but the hood is like a dome. There’s about two feet of room between the V8 and the hood. Packed hard full of snow.

There was also a school bus buried further down the road.

Mom said the guys went along the snow bank with metal rods and hockey sticks, poking into the hard drifted snow to find hidden vehicles. Hidden vehicles could have had people inside them, people who weren’t so lucky as us to have found a safe place to stay for the night.

The next day, the snow had slowed down, but the wind was still brutal. My sister and I were piled into a cardboard box and loaded onto a sled for the trek home up the road.

I remember cuddling up with her and staring up at the white sky.

I don’t remember clearly if I felt humiliated and indignant, but knowing me I probably was. I should ask Sweetie if she remembers it. I think most of our memories are from talking about it rather than recalling it.

I have other memories of camping out in our own house for a few days while the wind battered us. I don’t care how well built and well insulated your house is- when you’ve got 100 acres worth of northwest wind bearing down on you, you’re going to feel the cold. We closed off the front half of the house and stayed close to the wood stove.

My mom got fidgety when Dad went out to the barn. She never said anything but I’m sure she worried that he’d got lost trying to cross the 60 feet of whiteness between the house and the barn.

Sounds like Little House On The Prairie? This was only thirty years ago.

When I tell it, it sounds to me like legend and fairy tale, and I lived it! My kids think we’re exaggerating.

Yeah, well that’s nothing. My dad says in the 50s, they had a winter with snowbanks so high, he and his siblings could just about touch the power lines! Mind you, he adds with a grin, the lines were much lower then. The poles weren’t as tall.

But still.

We got a lot of snow yesterday. My husband limped home from work after a grueling day/ night in the studio, just as the snow started blowing at about 8:30 am. I was afraid all night that he’d be snowed in there. He’d be warm and have something to eat, but I wanted us all in the nest.

In the evening when the snow slowed down, we ventured outside to dig our way through the snow. After all these winters of my life I am still amazed by how the landscape changes. Our flat front yard is a series of peaks and hills.

We survived. This has been a rare winter so far because it snowed in November and never stopped. For over a decade we get snow that melts a few times before winter really sets in. It’s been winter for almost 6 weeks.

And I don’t think it’s done with us yet!

This is my dog after a two minute trip outside.

He was not happy. He loves dashing through the snow but not so much when it's blowing in his huge eyes.

I’ll tell you one thing...I watch my neighbours with their snowblowers and think that looks kind of okay. Last night the kid across the street had-- oh jealousy!-- a 4 wheeler with a blade in front. He went up and down the street plowing snow. I want one.

Screw it. I want a tractor. Bring it on, old man winter.

Of course, today, the sun shines like nothing ever happened...


Anita said...

There was a blizzard here in '69. I was two. I had pneumonia. The snow was so bad that a county employee came to our house in the road grader and picked up me and my mom to take us to the hospital, and then went to the doctor's house to take him to the hospital to see me... That was my first bout of pheumonia, and I was in the hospital for a week...

Blogger is screwing with everyone's pictures, so I'll come back later to see yours!

dilling said...

I look at my mom's old photos from Iowa winters and literally can't "get it." One winter, she said, they left the house from the second story windows to dig out because the wind and drift had covered the first deep enough not to be able to open them.
It has been winter here for a good long while, too, though ours is wet and grey and different. But that snow we did have was quite impressive by our standards, and the wet that followed was beyond our web-footed endurance.

katy said...

now that's what I call snow. hope you manage to keep warm, and did you forget to take the photo of the snowman?!

katy said...

now that's what I call snow. hope you manage to keep warm, and did you forget to take the photo of the snowman?!

Anita said...

Oh man! Great snow!
We used to get snow like that a lot when I was a kid, and now we don't get hardly any at all... bummer, I miss it... it's the only thing that makes the cold worth it...

CindyDianne said...

Wow. Snow. Neat. I'd like to see some!

Tod said...

That's the sort of snow I dream about, not the UK kind, all wimpy and pathetic.

Heidi the Hick said...

The best part is, I didn't even get into how wimpy we Ontarians are compared those tough Canucks out west!!

I love it how people who don't normally get snow would love to get some.

It's wonderful in its way but it makes everything more cumbersome. I'm going through more gas in the truck to get through all the slush on the roads, and it takes 10 minutes to clear the snow off the truck before I can go anywhere...

...but being Canadian I must complain about it. So, WAAAAAA!!!!!

(We've traded snowmen for snow-mega-forts now!)

coffeypot said...

While y'all were digging out stuff you didn't happen to find Jimmy Hoffa did ya?

The pictures of the snow and the pugy reminded me of a dog that came though the Pet Smart this weekend. It was a little white poodle wearing a red sweater that said across the back, “If you can read this, pull me out of the snow.”

Holly Kennedy said...

I LOVE seeing snow piled up that high, which means I must be a true blue Canadian, eh?!

We have snow in Alberta but not as much as you do :)

Heidi the Hick said...

Wha???? Less snow in Alberta than in Ontario? Hmm...maybe we're not such wimps after all?

Olly said...

Love it! I have such vivid memories of complete white-outs that dumped massive amounts of snow.

My parents have old pics of my dad pointing down to a stop sign he dug the snow off of. And one of my mom pointing to a mountain of snow with a sign she made saying "car".

Once we ventured out of the house during a white out. All four of us held hands. Made our way to the garage, then the neighbours hedge, then another garage and so on until we reached a house that was having a blizzard party. My kids don't believe me.

The day after was always perfect for tunneling out snow forts and caves from big drifts and icing the inside of them - gotta watch and listen carefully for those snow plows though...

Heidi the Hick said...

Yeah I know- I FORBADE Bucky to make snowforts out of the banks at the side of the road. He had every argument that he'd listen carefully for the snowplow coming...and I said TOUGH. Build a fort in the back yard. It's a busy street.

I know, I'm a funsucker.

I LOVE everybody's snow stories!

Balloon Pirate said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Balloon Pirate said...

I farkin' hate HTML.

The storm hit on Friday, January 28, 1977. I remember.

And later.


Lynn Sinclair said...

Snowstorm in '77. Hmmm...can't remember it. Of course, I don't remember a lot from those days.

Glad your hubby made it home before the worst of the storm hit.

Anita said...

BTW - I like your title... that IS a Dr. Seuss reference, is it not?

Heidi the Hick said...

Yep, the title's from The Cat In The Hat!

Heidi the Hick said...

Pirate, I'd forgotten your storm story. I remember reading those stories. Those events will be fused forever in your mind.