Seattleites are hilarious with the snow. The school district closed in anticipation of “snowmageddon”. Last that happened, the snow never arrived and we all hung around drinking hot chocolate and looking out the window. They got no end of grief for that.
I grew up in real snow country. (You know what’s coming here.) Roads closed for a week sometimes, electricity would fail, water pipes would freeze and break. And, living in an old Victorian home built around 1900 in the middle of thousands of acres made it an interesting place in the winter.
For one, there was no heat upstairs, so snow would seep under the windows and form little drifts on the sill that persisted until it warmed up. The same under the doors on the main floor that led to the porches. We had heat downstairs, though, boy did we have heat.
For years we had two oil stoves. My favorite place in the winter was lying on the floor with my toes tucked into the small vents where the heat came out. I could watch Gilligan’s Island or The Muppets from there, too. Eventually, one of the oil stoves was removed and we got one of those tar-black wood-burning Franklin stoves. You know the kind.
It REALLY helped warm the place up. In fact, the room where the stove lived could pretty much dry all your laundry faster than any dryer (not to mention what it did to your skin). There was an old couch in that room that I would occasionally sit on to get away from the insipid cigarette ghosts and the din of television noise. I could close off that room by pulling out two enormous tucked room partitions that would make the living room and wood fire room (mostly known as the music room because it housed the piano) into two. The problem was that within 20 minutes, I would fall asleep in that hot, snug little room, unable to awaken from my parched stupor – dreaming of drinking up Lake Coeur d’Alene through a straw. It must have been 115 degrees in there. There were some weird dreams on that couch.
It wasn’t particularly welcomed, those snow storms. In the Palouse, the roads are cut through mounding hills, s0 fighting to return to their original mounds, the snow would clog everything up. I found it amusing that no matter what humankind has done, nature has it’s ways of making a point. I always thought it liked those rolling hills better than the roads. The wind had other plans.
Unlike Issaquah and Seattle schools, we probably waited a bit too long to declare a snow day. The school district was so broad in area, that it took over an hour for some kids to get home on a good day. I remember Lola, the school bus driver with an siren-like nasal voice, which she shared generously, would about lose her ever-loving mind over the snow.
We pushed the limits a bit back then, yes. We got stuck in snowbanks. It was a little scary, but mostly just exciting. The intercom would come on in the bus – from the district office. We could hear Lola screaming into it, telling them that they jolly well better get out there and pull her out of the ditch. “I’m on the road between Hartmeir’s and Latah, she would scream, “Hangman Crick is on the left.” (The rescuers, more often, were rednecks with big trucks who I swear patrolled around just to rescue people with their rigs.
Ah yes, the good old days.
But for today, we are truly inundated. Especially those of us who live at higher elevations. It will pass, as it always did on the farm.