I don’t know about you, but out here in BFE (bum f—- Egypt), when the snow piles up, we hunker down. This last round has left us almost a foot. The only good thing about this dilemma is the power hasn’t gone out. It’s reminiscent of my youth in Cle Elum, worrying about my father who drove a truck over the pass to Seattle to pick up the Post Intelligencer (remember that paper?) for the greater Eastern Washington.
The snow was beautiful as long as my father was home safe. Without cell phones to track his whereabouts at any given moment, we used CB radios. When he wasn’t in range, he’d pass along messages through other truckers, a kind of leap frog method. It was like the childhood game of “operator” where one person whispers in another’s ear, and they pass it along to hear how garbled the message came out the other side. But it was that game on steroids, as we were dependent on the quality of the message in blizzard conditions. He’s long gone, my father. Ironically the cigarettes took him, not the road we worried so much about.
He went every day, because in those days, print newspapers were like the US Postal Service — “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds” — I Googled that. The only time he didn’t head out to pick up the papers was because the pass was closed from east to west. We lived at the bottom of the pass along the highway, so we knew when it was closed, the silence was deafening.
Also, the only time school closed when I was attending Cle Elum schools was when the wind blew. It would drift the snow across those country roads and make the edges disappear. Not that some of the bus rides I took weren’t filled with terror, but we were a tough lot.
I don’t have any qualms admitting that these days I’m happy to stay indoors during this sort of inclement weather. My husband is retired, but I do have my daughters to worry about. They aren’t particularly inclined to drive in the snow, as they never had “snow” lessons. My philosophy about snow driving is we don’t drive in the snow, the snow drives us. I don’t care how experienced you are, snow and ice are unpredictable. Many tell me, “it’s the other people driving that make it bad.” Sure, if the other people are driving too fast, or otherwise recklessly, they are a concern, but really, snow and ice on roads is bad news no matter who you are.
I’ve taught my daughters that there is nothing more important than their lives when it comes to driving in hazardous conditions. They are also of the technology era, where they can indeed get their homework online (as long as the electricity and WiFi don’t go out) and stay safe. Stay off the road and let the people who have essential jobs use them. I’ll let you be the judge on how important your position in life is – both figuratively and literally.
I’m sorry. I’m not enjoying this snow, because I do feel stuck and concerned about what the next week will hold. By the time you read this we’ll already know how it played out and how many times. In the meantime, I’ll try to look out at my forest and appreciate the beauty of the snow. Then I’ll pout over how I was planning on gardening this week.
Ah well. Maybe the children are having fun. Someone should.
Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom who lives in a neighborhood near you. You can read more of her writing on her website livingwithgleigh.com, or follow her on Facebook at “Living with Gleigh by Gretchen Leigh. Her column is always available at maplevalleyreporter.com under the Life section.