Jack’s Cabinet of Curiosities – Snowy Memories
I would be remiss if not writing about our favorite conversation topic the weather. The past several months surely reminds us of where we live, extreme cold and more than enough snow, Minnesota.
Many of us have stories about the past years we recall. However, a record was set this February for the largest total snowfall. The big storms, including many inches of snow over several days, have imprinted memories of experiences not to be forgotten. “The 1940 Armistice Day Snow”.
Carol Klein related a story about her grandparents needing a trip to town to replenish supplies on that day. It started as a balmy day only to change quickly. The parents became stranded in town, leaving children at home to manage things for not only themselves but the livestock.
As the day progressed, it was obvious the blowing snow would make finding outbuildings very difficult. The oldest child, 14, showed his maturity by using a rope, tied from the house to the barn for guidance through the drifts of snow. Both ends of the rope required care, one end to the animals and the other end to the house.
My father-in-law and his brother were trappers caught in the snow storm, which covered the better part of Minnesota. They spent that day in the “Weaver Bottoms” along the Mississippi River checking their traps. What started out as a “shirt weather” day, quickly turned threating.
Survival under the circumstance depended on their knowledge of the area. Many duck hunters were caught up in the rapid change of the weather and perished.
In 1969, I was teaching a night class at the University of Minnesota in Morris, a 50-mile run from my home in Montevideo. That year snow comes early and often, so by late January and early February the wind-driven piles made inspecting power pole wires an up-hill venture for the REA.
A ditch attracted my car, I probably should not have been on the road. Thankfully a good Samaritan came along, with a pick-up and chain. He found me a place to stay at Mrs. Olson’s house in the small town of Holloway. I was her guest for three nights. The wind continued to keep the roads impassable.
At present, the falling snow brings back memories best recalled from the warmth of the inside surroundings.