Thursday, November 30, 2006

As I listen to the sleet pounding the house...

while I have three sick kids coughing through naptime upstairs, I'm reminded of the great blizzard of '83. I was 9 and had some awful sickness with 104F fever. We lived in a 500 sq ft two-bedroom home on a gravel road, five miles outside of our little town and our electricity had gone out...and it stayed out for four days.

The severe winds had snow piled higher than I've ever seen it in my life and I still remember the chest-high tunnel someone dug to reach the cars. We still have old Super 8 film, converted to VCR tape now, of the dog trying to find his way through like a rat in a maze. We had no fireplace and were stuck trying to keep warm with extra clothes and blankets. My mother used a saucepan over a candle to warm canned soup for us. My brother was sent outside to dig holes in the ice covered swimming pool so we could flush the toilet (septic system). My oldest brother was off at college in another part of the state. We used candles for light and, as I recall, spent most of the time reading to each other, huddled under blankets. With my high fever, I don't think I was quite as cold as the others but they did seem to want to snuggle close to my internal heater.

I remember my father and brother taking off to town to look for a kerosene room heater on the 2nd or 3rd day. The story he came back with was that he had to pound on the door and beg some shopkeeper to open up and sell him a kerosene heater, using the ol' "my daughter is very sick and needs it desperately" line. It worked and as scared as my mother was of the thing, it did help warm us up.

So as I sit and listen to the sleet pelting the house today (and forecasting 6-10 inches of snow tonight), and worry about Hubby making it home from work in one piece, I smile to myself, recalling my mother reading a story to my brother and I by candlelight, huddled under a blanket so many years ago. We'll survive this winter storm too and maybe even have a good story to share about it down the road.

A little over an hour ago conditions (the white is a teeny bit of snow but mostly all ice):

Current conditions (yes, still almost all ice):

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