Things are changing quickly in a week’s time. Two weeks ago, I was grumbling about having one day of harvest left with Thanksgiving approaching.
A week ago, I was rejoicing that harvest was completed on a sunny Saturday and the 2009 crop year was done.
This week it was hunker down because a winter blizzard was in the forecast. You can find an occasional unharvested cornfield around here, but there are not many left and an ear of corn attached to a cornstalk is eligible to be considered an endangered species because there are very few still standing.
If the weatherman is correct, the plan was to sit still for a day or so and let the storm blow over.
I would bet there are kids who are happy for the first day of this school year being closed due to a blizzard. Teachers, administrators, and especially the cooks had to replan what to do about skipping a day.
I do not believe it is a poor memory that makes me say that the blizzards of the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s were worse than any we have had in recent years. I remember blizzards that were real doozeys. There were a couple snowstorms in the early 1960s that went on for more than two days.
What I remember most about those big snowstorms was that my dad actually stayed inside for those days.
We always had cattle, pigs and chickens back then and my dad had chores every day regardless of the weather. Once a blizzard arrived, there was nothing he could do until it ended. Then it was outside to check animals, water tanks and feeders.
I am not sure my dad really enjoyed his day off. I remember him reading the newspaper and taking a longer than usual nap after the noon meal. My sisters and I were happy to stay home from school and all of us be together for a day. It was a day off for us, too.
Once the storm ended, it was time to dig out and check everything. My sisters and I would look for the biggest snowdrifts to climb and slide down with our sleds.
There were snowdrifts that were level with the eaves of our buildings, something I have not seen in almost 30 years.
By now I am sounding like some elderly geezer so let me finish what I have started by saying the kids of today do not know what a real snowstorm is. You knew that was coming, didn’t you?
I will bet there are a lot of 60-year-old people and older who will agree with me. Snowstorms are not what they used to be, along with a lot of other things, but there is no reason to get into those things. I will save my ranting for my kitchen table. My wife would consider you lucky.
The first snowstorm of the winter was coming because the weatherman told us so. That is another change. I do not remember the weatherman of 60 years ago giving us forecasts like we have today.
The storms of 60 years ago seemed to show up with a few hours’ notice. Of course, 60 years ago, I did not pay much attention to the weather forecast.
That is what dads were for. It was a good time to be growing up, even in a blizzard.
Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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