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Major snowstorms that last more than a day do not occur often just West of St. Louis. Seems like we would only have a really bad one about every seven years. But the worst of these in my formative farm years (in the '50's) was memorable enough to make up for quite a few light-snow winters.

This winner of a snow started fast, wet and heavy and continued for about a day and a half before stopping and starting again. It began one morning while the family was at work and school, and by the time we got home, our farm road (with one low cut turn that filled to a depth of four feet or more) was almost blocked. We parked our cars at the farm of a neighbor on the main road and walked about a quarter mile across the windy fields in the nasty, wet, blinding and thoroughly chilling stuff to get to our farm house. We were carrying groceries and books, so it was a long walk. Next, a few phone calls told us that we could not get anyone in to clean out our farm road for some time. Because our water had to be hauled in by truck and the cistern just happened to be unusually low at the time the storm hit, we had to kind of ration water for toilets, cleaning etc. The overdue water truck could not get in the blocked road. (In those days we did not yet have our own tractor with a snow blade, and clearing THAT much snow would have required a very big tractor or a Cat anyway.)

That evening our fun continued. The oil furnace went haywire and performed some sort of stunt like a car backfiring. It blew black soot back through the vents and all over such eager receptors as rugs, furniture, clothes, etc. Everything in the farm house got dirty, including the weary, tired folks in need of a good bath. The lights on the side of   the house showed that it was a beautiful, quiet, white outside.  Inside it was an unpleasant gray.

In the morning, the two females of the family walked back across the field and were able to get somewhere in the almost blocked public streets to visit a nearby place with bath privileges. We males began shovelling snow into the cistern to melt into much needed water. That was hard work and also educational. We discovered that after hours of steady shovelling of a mountain of snow into the cistern, the moved mountain would semi-melt into a pitifully small volume of water. It seemed like you could have done almost as well carrying buckets of water in across the field.

After a couple of white-outside/black-inside days of not being able to clean anything, we got the road cleared. The water truck made a couple of trips in, and hope and dispositions were restored. After marvelous baths, major house scrubbing began indoors. A day later, the temperature rose, and the remains of the blizzard melted into memories.


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