Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, June 21, 1999

A snowstorm to remember


Many years ago, before my family had a television, we heard on the radio that there was a big snowstorm coming. We had trouble believing it as it wasn't very cold and, while we had some snow for sliding and skating, it was too nice to think of a snowstorm.

We went to visit our neighbors and they had just returned from town where they had bought lots of food, just in case they were snowed in. I started to think about what we had on hand and realized that, for one thing, we only had about a half of a loaf of bread.

"You better stock up on food," my neighbor said. "They say this storm could last a week. Everyone is at the grocery store, buying lots of food."

So I said to my husband, "Maybe we had better go to the grocery store. I know I need bread. I'm getting worried that we'll be hungry if we can't get to the store."

So we went to town. When we got to the grocery store, we found that there wasn't much food left. I asked the grocery man why he was so low on groceries.

"Haven't you heard about the big snowstorm coming?" he asked.

"We've had snowstorms before," I answered. "But we've always been able to get to town to buy food."

"Well, the way I hear," he said, "this is going to be a bad one. Even the farmers are getting their animals ready for it."

So I bought all the bread he had left and some pancake mix. I walked up and down the grocery store aisles and picked up everything I could think of that we might possibly need.

When we got home, I sent the children out to bring in the bags from the car. They all laughed at all the food I had bought.

"You could feed an army," they said.

When my husband came in, he told our son, Jim, to help him bring in enough hay for our cows and horses. He also told him to fill the big tank with snow, to melt for water.

After the water tanks were filled and the hay was brought in, my husband nailed a big rope on one end of the barn and he tied the other end onto our back porch. When he was a child, his father did that when there was a big storm, so they could follow the rope to find the barn if they couldn't see well.

We also got our gas lanterns ready, in case we lost our electricity.

"If we don't get a big storm, we are sure doing a lot of work for nothing," I said.

The next morning we woke up to a beautiful, sunny day. I looked at all the food I had bought. Some of it was still in the bags because there wasn't anywhere to put it.

My husband joked, "It looks like you're going to have to open a grocery store."

He went to work and the children went to school. I went down in the basement to wash clothes and clean the family room.

All at once, I heard someone come in upstairs. The children came downstairs to find me in the basement.

"Why aren't you in school?" I asked in surprise.

"Mother, haven't you looked outside?" they asked.

"No, I've been down here all morning," I explained.

Then my husband came in with the dogs.

"Come, look out the window," he said.

I came upstairs and looked outside. It was snowing so hard that I couldn't even see the barn.

The weather report was right. It snowed for five days. There was lots of wind and we got three feet of new snow. Sometimes the wind blew so hard that we couldn't get the door open. Boy, was I ever glad we had all that food.

My husband and Jim shoveled a path to the barn by following the rope. And the kids started fighting - we had never been closed up together for such a long time without being able to go out.

I haven't seen a snowstorm like that again and I hope I never do. One storm like that one was enough.

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