We can't complain on winter — yet. It was super cold, but the snow in our area hasn't been a big problem like I remember it from yesteryear.
It occurred to me one day that we no longer see many snowmen sitting on the front lawns of most homes anymore. My dad was a super snowman maker. For one thing, he was tall and a big man and as a result had the advantage of making his snowmen tall and large. I remember one year we had a group of snowmen on my Grandmother Hanson’s south lawn, all shapes and sizes.
Another thought that comes to mind is snowball fights. The boys in my day were tricky and made snow forts to duck behind, but I don't remember anybody getting really crushed by snowballs. Those forts must have done the trick and helped protect them.
Another event we always looked forward to each winter was playing fox and geese. I guess I am not remembering why it was called fox and geese, but everybody played from little and on up.
I also remember seeing pictures, or family who talked about the huge snowdrifts. My mother can remember there was a place they actually had to use dynamite to break open the snow drifts as they were so thick and hard. Back then they didn't have any machines that could do the job.
It was not unusual to get the big plows out to get through the snow on the hilly area between Dr. Ertel's and my grandparents’ farm, which was just south and west of the county line road near Ellendale.
Machines couldn’t do it all. Surprise! Individual men had to get their shovels out and clear snow for the bulldozer to go through.
There were always detours across fields and fences, so the farmers could get the cream to town or get groceries. My grandmother’s mail carrier, Zielger, invented the first little "snowmobile" of sorts back then so the mail could be delivered. It had track wheels and was kind of egg shaped and could climb over the snow banks.
They say we get as much snow now as back then. We just have better equipment and roads, but memory still says we had more blizzards and snow years ago.
I have a picture of my dad and his dad straddling the telephone lines along one of my Grandpa Schember’s snow plowing routes in the New Richland area back then.
Back in my younger days we developed our own skating pond across the street from where I now live, before the Community Lutheran parsonage was built. It wasn't real big, just the right size to keep in shape for skating. I think we all thought we would grow up to be Sonja Heine.
My Grandmother Hanson used to talk about ice boats they used to sail across Geneva Lake. One year, the ice froze and rose to extraordinary heights right across the lake. We had a picture of my dad, who was 6-foot-2, standing on his snowmobile and reaching his arm as high as he could, and still didn’t reach the top of that blade of ice that extended halfway across the middle of Geneva Lake.
I wonder does something like that happen often on lakes or oceans? I know I am not too smart about those things, but that was a natural sculpture worth remembering.
Winter doesn't seem so bad when you are a kid, I guess. Of course many will remember the snow bank in Geneva that had a tunnel running through it. The area I am talking about was two blocks west of Geneva Bar & Grill. We have had snow that required plowing in April. The year my middle daughter Kimberly was born (1973) we had to get Wilfred Nelson out with the snow plow so I could get to the hospital. And the year when my cousin, Pixie, as we called her, was born, her mother had to walk a quarter of a mile to gain transportation from where Orlando Thompson was living at the time. (Pixie was born in March of 1951.) And my mother still wonders what she would have done if grandson, Cam, hadn't been born January 8th, just hours before the blizzard blast that lasted for days back in 1975.
And we won't talk about the Armistice Storm. That was something else I guess, but before my time. It came in a flash and a fury.
Watching the storms that have bombarded the east coast this winter, I wonder how they compared. Of course, Midwest farmers are tougher than city folks and also were semi prepared with experience and equipment. Cold as it may be with its little surprises, I still like Minnesota best.
Bernice and Adrian Thompson, would ride horseback, pulling the other one on snow skis for a ride and a half up and down the snow banks back in the pre-snowmobile days. It wasn't all that easy hanging onto the hay rope and staying on an even keel with the horses.
Toody, Athan, Barb and Jerry (Langlie) saved the day for my Grandma Hanson, who had prepared Thanksgiving dinner for almost 50 people before getting snowed under. They came on horseback with snow up to the horses’ chests and almost buried Barbara’s little pony. Grandma didn't cry often, but she did, with happiness.
I am quite sure you have a number of great winter memories too. Think about them. Times change, but memories linger on.
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Birthdays and anniversaries:
• Thursday, February 4th: Aaron Duane Bauers, Tyler Cerney, Tyler Sorenson (1994), Waylen Busho Jr., Billy Glynn, David Newgard, Roy Jensen, John Lent
• Friday, February 5th: Crystal Simonson, Blanche Kasper, Darrell Howell, Randy Reese, Ericka Johnson, Kylee Jace Wilson, Wesley Schoenrock
• Saturday, February 6th: Jean Klocek, Carolyn Hanson, Dean Jensen, David Kelly, Martin Bartness, Colleen Borchert, Troy Haddy, Jean Clausen, Sonja Thompson, Megan Stephoni, Todd Nelson, Brooke Burns, Kay Swenson
• Sunday, February 7th: Cheryl Cornelius, Ted Pelzl, Kelly Simon, Emma Lorraine Klemmensen, Karissa Dolan, Joel Radjenovich, Steve & Holly Glynn
• Monday, February 8th: Lainee Ann Krohn, Erin Thompson, Terry Wacek
• Tuesday, February 9th: Emily Eder, John Warnke, Donnavon Eaker, Laura (Edwards) Baudoin, Brad Lerum, Kelly Lageson, Heidi Nelson, Karen Knudson, Tami Sorenson Hansen, Jay Wangsness
• Wednesday, February 10th: Brooklyn Jo Baudoin, Brett Mitchell Kubiatowicz, Greg Hagen, Abbey Jensen, Tom Wayne, Dean Reiter, Michael Glienke, Wayne Osmundson, Rachel Strand, Judy Thostenson, Peggy Talamantes, Greg Nelson, Madison Johnson, Dick & Mary Ann Ewing
• Thursday, February 11th: Megan Pence, Jet Wayne, Neil Douglas Schmidt, Donna Wilker, David Dunn, Julie Christensen, Rhonda Thompson Christensen, Steve Gallentine, Earl Cleven, Teresa Knudson Pratt
• Friday, February, 12th: Gail Skroch, Joe Moon, Michael Hanson, April Van Riper, Rick Borchert, Eugene Kruckeberg, Travis Wayne, Jessie Olson, Greg Oswald, Taff & Jean Worrell, David & Carolyn Hanson
May all the good wishes that you receive on your special day bloom in your heart and bring you joy!