In my 87-plus years — mostly spent in South Dakota — I have seen lots of storms that qualify as blizzards. The National Weather Service says a blizzard consists of sustaining winds of 35 miles per hour and blowing snow lasting upwards of three hours.
By all rights the storm at Christmastime in 2009 was a doozy!
Because I am wheelchair-bound, I had to look out the window at the four-foot drifts at our place. I had the greatest urge to take up a shovel and attack the piled up white stuff – but I couldn't without falling on my behind in the drifts.
I had to be content to watch through the window as Phyllis tackled the job of clearing our deck so she could get to the bird feeders to feed the birds.
It reminded me of the times we threw caution to the wind and drove on our way to Washington State in a blizzard between Broadus and Miles City, MT in the 1960s. Our daughters were small then and I remember keeping track of each hay stack that we passed in case we got stranded enroute. I was concerned about our safety.
When we got to Miles City we went directly to the Elks Club there knowing they would put us up for the remainder of the night. It was our first real experience in such a storm.
We have been known to venture forth in the worst kinds of weather. Once I had a speech in Marshalltown, IA. It was snowing to beat the band when it was time to leave and the only way we could get out of our driveway was on the back of a tractor – which was another of our experiences in a blizzard.
Since then, our blizzard troubles have affected our animals more than us. When we were still on the farm, we had to call on the township board to bring in their heavy equipment to clear a path to the hay field so we could get hay for our cattle. On a lesser problem, one of daughter Jill's 4-H Bantam chickens got out in a storm and its leg feathers were frozen in the ice and snow. Fortunately, it survived.
Those were some of our blizzard experiences – but none were as bad as the Christmas storm of 2009.
© 2009 Robert F. Karolevitz