Is It Really Still Winter?
I looked out the window on Wednesday morning on my way to the kitchen. According to the calendar and the overly optimistic weatherman, Wednesday was supposed to be the sixth day of spring. But as I gazed across my yard, I didn't see any tufts of brownish green grass. What I saw instead was more snow. Ugh...
I'm sure most of us would agree it's been a long, hard winter. I have a theory about that. I think the groundhog actually saw two
shadows, but he was afraid to say we would be getting 12 more weeks of winter instead of the usual six. It's a good thing he kept his mouth shut. We probably would have run the little critter out of the country!
As I stared at this latest deposit of white stuff, I began thinking of winters from my past. I'm a native West Virginian so I have plenty of wintry memories to pull from.
I grew up in Elkins, a small town in the mountains of central West Virginia. Winters in Elkins are pretty predictable: it's always cold and it snows a lot. After a while you get used to it, I suppose. When I was going to school, we never cancelled and we never had delays. I remember stepping outside one morning when it was nearly 20 degrees below zero. I took one breath and all of the snot in my nose literally froze! It's one of those experiences you never quite forget, especially as a kid. My girls still laugh when I tell the story.
I also remember how Governor Caperton promised a blizzard and then didn't deliver. I was in high school by then, but I acted like a 10 year old. I couldn't sleep. I remember getting up again and again to look out the window, waiting for the predicted avalanche of snow. It never came. In fact, we didn't get a single snow flake. I was depressed. Frankly, I was in a pretty foul mood the whole next day. Even today when I hear a forecast for heavy snowfall, there's a little voice in the back of my head that says: "Yeah, sure, you just think
it's going to snow!"
As grown-ups, we have to face the harsher realities that come with bad weather. I remember many times that heavy snow has knocked out the power at our home. When we lose power, we gather together in the family room and build a fire in the fireplace to keep warm. It's an inconvenience, but my girls always seemed to think of it as camping without having to go outside.
I remember an especially bad storm years ago when we got large amounts of freezing rain. My wife went outside to the mailbox. Before I knew what was happening, she fell, hit her head, and began sliding down the hillside. I tried to
help, but the ice on the ground made it too treacherous to keep my footing. Eventually, I stretched out on my belly, grabbed my wife's hands, and slowly pulled until she was back in the driveway where it was safe. Needless to say, this experience taught us both to be extra, extra cautious around any kind of ice or freezing rain.
I'm also a survivor of the blizzard of 1993. I was living in Wheeling then. Wheeling was on the receiving end of almost three feet of snow. I was stuck in my house for three days before somebody with a blade could come and dig me out. It was bad enough being stuck for three days, but to make things worse I was stuck all by myself. My wife was in Charleston with both of our girls when the storm hit. All alone for three days. No television. No telephone. Nobody to talk to. I almost went crazy! I'm just thankful that there was plenty of food in the cupboard to ease the pain of the loneliness...
I've enjoyed sharing these winter stories with my girls as they've grown up. I'm sure I'll have opportunities to share them again now that I'm a grandfather. Heck, I may even make a few more winter memories in the years to come!
So I was wondering. Do any of you have any memories of winters-gone-by that you would like to share?