We are talking about being snowed-in this week. It only happened a few times to me, mostly because I grew up in suburbia.
I am always ready for any reason that would prevent me from getting out to buy supplies. I think everyone should anticipate problems and have extra everything; it doesn’t have to be a blizzard to keep you housebound. I did a series on my other blog about family emergency prep a few years ago: [https://tonettejoycefoodfriendsfamily.wordpress.com/2013/05/19/emergency-preparedness/ ]
People in snowy part of the country will not understand that Washington, DC shuts down at three inches of snow. Seriously; schools close, daycares aren’t open and ‘non-essential government employees’ need not go into work.
But that doesn’t mean that anyone is actually ‘snowed in’.
Not to say that we didn’t actually have heavy snows or even blizzards, but the roads were generally cleared in a short time.
The Blizzard of Early 1966 was incredible. We were out of school for about a week and had a ball!
We had a blizzard there in also ’79, but we all did well. It seemed horrible, but we were only unable to get around for a couple of days. The streets were clear, but the snow was piled-up on the cars and in the driveways. There are pictures somewhere of my sister and me trying to dig the cars out. They are funny!
We had a blizzard the year I was in rural Idaho, but we were always well-stocked. The neighbor from across the highway, (who had a sheep farm), unexpectedly came over and plowed our circular driveway for us. The highway had been cleared. We didn’t go out, but them we didn’t go out much in Idaho, anyway.
It’s ice storms here in North Central Kentucky that occasionally make us house-bound, and I have discussed them when we talked about power-outages:
There was a blizzard just before I got here. I was in Denver with my sons, packing for the move. I could not reach my husband, who was already here. When he called me, I asked what was going on. He asked if I had not had not watched the news and heard of the major blizzard that had socked the region in? I had been watching the news all day and had not heard of it because it was also the day of the big earthquake in California. CA and CO have big ties and that was all the news we were getting. While we were still talking, , Ted Kopple came on and explained that he was not in his regular Washington studio because of the major blizzard that had hit the area. The national news came on and showed snowplows in Louisville. I had not heard a thing about it all day!
I went looking back through the posts to see if I had told the story of the big blizzard that happened right after I moved to Denver, and was surprised that I had not.
I won’t go into the story of the hows and whys, but I had been in Denver for less than a month, married for only three weeks. The weather, as happens in Colorado, was fair. We had planned on going out on Christmas Eve afternoon to do a little shopping. Joe-the-Husband did grading or something, while I did whatever I was doing around our place. He had rented the downstairs apartment in a house in “Little Italy”, and our senior citizen landlords lived upstairs.
Although we had windows, they were up high and we were, as I said, busy. We knew there was snow falling, but we had no idea how fast it accumulating. The weather forecast had not called for any snow at all.
When we decided we’d start to go out, we could not. Feet of snow blocked our way and more was coming down, quickly. There went plans for Midnight Mass, although the church in which we were married was just a few blocks away. We could not even walk it, as I often would.
Because no one saw the snow coming, the then-mayor sent the city workers home early for Christmas Eve. By the time anyone realized how bad things were, the workers could not get back to the snowplows. People were stranded all over. Hospital workers, (medical and otherwise), and first responders were stranded and worked for days. People with high-profile four-wheel drive vehicles were implored to drive police, fire and medical people to their jobs and take the fatigued ones home.
Any other time, Colorado is ready for snow. They rely on tourism and if the tourists can’t get from the airport to the ski resorts, no one will go. In fact, this debacle lost the mayor his long-time position. He was just trying to give the city workers a few bonus hours off for Christmas, but no one cared because of all the bad press and inconvenience; he was out at the next election for this reason alone.
Joe and I knew family members in (other states) of the woman who lived two-doors down; in fact, she had found the apartment for him. Her husband taught with mine, ( and there was even another male fellow faculty member who live just around the corner).
The woman was just a few weeks short of the due-date for her fourth child. She feared that she would go into labor and not be able to get to the hospital and asked if I could assist her husband if need be. I could have, but I thanked God that I did not have to!
The landlords had not bothered to go grocery shopping. Gifts of food customarily came in before at Christmas and they always had a lavish meal at their son’s house. Their daughter-in-law had always sent them home with plenty of leftovers as well, but they could not get out, nor could their son come to get them.
Fortunately for them, I had never left home before I got married, therefore, I had never cooked for fewer than six people, and usually for more.
(When we were first married we ate a LOT of leftovers. I learned how to freeze foods well. The only time I made just enough was when we each had a steak or a chicken breast, and of course, those would be the times that Joe would spontaneously invite someone to stay for dinner!)
Joe had also spent many years helping his mother with his younger siblings and still bought in large quantities. (He had 25 pounds of onions at the apartment when I moved in, and a fifteen-pound lump of hamburger in the freezer.)
We had bought a turkey and trimmings. I had everything for a full-sized meal with sides and desserts, so we took the dinner upstairs to our landlord and landlady, who provided the linens, china and wine. I left food with them.
Their son and daughter-in-law came with groceries two days later.
We had another unexpected blizzard about nine years later on a Halloween. Halloweens in Colorado are either warm, so that kids can show off their cute costumes when trick-or-treating, or it is cold and wet and they need to bundle up …and all parental effort is basically wasted. I’m sure this has come up in previous posts, but I took my sons out to trick or treat that year and we didn’t get far in our townhouse complex. We turned around and before we could get back to our house, the snow was above our ankles.
The usual 20-minute drive back from Joe’s part-time job took over two hours, due to his taking someone home and going back roads because the hill he had to go up on the main artery to our place was impassible. I was worried sick. We were closed in the next day and he switched to a closer store in the same chain.
There is a very funny story that ties in with this switch involving the company picnic, but I will reserve that for now.
This season we have already been socked-in with an ice storm, months earlier than they usually hit. I am holding my breath for the Winter of Early 2019.
you seem to be not only well prepared, but quite able to roll with the punches. That’s awesome.
The experience after your wedding with the abrupt snow in CO would certainly be skeerey… especially with the prospect of becoming a drafted mid-wife!
I bet your landlord couple was delighted that their tenant was a well-prepared chef!
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I might look like I can roll, but in actuality, I am a terrible worrier and that is probably WHY I try to be so well-prepared.
I actually was frightened that something might go wrong if the woman had the baby at home, but she her previous deliveries had been smooth and her husband had been in on all of them, so I was only scared, not frightened out of my wits!
And yes, the dinner came off so well that when my landlady made a turkey the next week, she asked me to come up and tale a look at it for her…mind you, this was and old-fashioned Italian woman who was over 60.I still have a note that she send down with the pate I had sent cake up to her on a month or so later, praising my baking; It still means a lot.
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Sounds like a scene from one of Jeff’s books! Glad everything turned out well.
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Wow, that is a compliment! Yes, everything for us came out fine and thank God, there were a surprisingly few real problems throughout the area, (although I would not ask the nurses who were stranded at the hospitals!)
You are certainly prepared which helps in situations such as being snowed in. I can’t imagine how you must have felt being asked to help deliver a It must have been a huge relief that it didn’t come down to that. How nice of you to share your dinner with the landlords.
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The dinner was really quite nice; frankly, was glad to have others to help us eat all that food and to have more people to appreciate my efforts, and have someone else to speak with over a long dinner. Since I had not left home, I always had relatives around for the holidays. My family moved from Idaho down to the area just before the next Christmas, and we were all together then.
I’m no stranger to snow myself, having grown up and lived in the Chicago for the first forty-odd years of my life. Been through more than one blizzard that shut the city down, including O’Hare Airport. I remember the shoveling part with a frown. So happy to live in the south now, even with the threat of hurricanes. LOL
Snow is so beautiful when it first falls. Unrivaled, I believe. It’s an example of purity.
I too have stories about going through a blizzard. One in particular always sticks in my mind. This one is about a pregnant friend who’s husband was stranded with us in Chicago after my husband and he left work in Park Ridge and drove to our house on the northwest side. He was frantic, as she was due to deliver their first child at any time. He insisted on setting out to be with her. We couldn’t stop him, so we bundled him up as best we could and even duct taped heavy-duty garbage bags over his boots and legs. He set out on foot for Arlington Heights and made it with the help of a few rides from law enforcement in their specially equipped with snowplow vehicles.
She delivered a couple of days afterward. Can you imagine the stories they tell their children now? Hmmm…I’ll have to put that into one of my novels. LOL
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You know, you probably should. I dare to guess that there are more real-life episodes that we could add to our writings. I know t hat I have used one evening extensively in a major story of mine.
I have to give the man credit for making such an effort to get to his wife.I could write a story about how my own husband tried to finish teaching a class when I put in the call to take me to the hospital with our first child. His students had to make him leave!
Thank you for coming by and sharing your story, Sharon; I truly appreciate it!