From Pipi’s Pasture: A snowy Thanksgiving
November 20, 2015
As I do morning chores here at Pipi's Pasture, I can see the school buses coming and going. Recently, on a snowy morning, I was reminded of my teenage years, when I was growing up on the ranch. My siblings and I rode the bus about 13 miles to attend Moffat County High School in Craig. On top of that, Dad had to drive us nine or so miles to meet the bus. In all those years, school was never cancelled because of snow.
So when I started teaching high school at Ault in Weld County, I was surprised the first time school was cancelled. I looked out the window and saw what appeared to be one or two inches of snow. I was soon to learn what happened to those one or two inches when the wind blew. It was farm country, so the wind blew the snow off the fields and right into the road, where it piled up in drifts, making the roads impassable. Besides, with all the blowing snow, a person couldn't see to drive.
In the 13 years we lived in Weld County, the storm I remember most was the one that closed the roads on Thanksgiving. I was married to Lyle, had two boys, and was teaching at Eaton. We lived at Severance, not far from Windsor.
Lyle's birthday is Nov. 19, and his sister called him from Craig with best wishes. She remarked that the weather was weird that night, with thunder and lightning and rain that was changing to snow. She wondered what it was doing at our house.
It wasn't doing anything at the time, but we knew the storm would probably reach our part of the state soon. The next day it did. I don't remember if school was cancelled or if we went to school and were sent home, but sometime in the day the snow and wind began.
In those days, our milk and other dairy products were delivered by Lowell Paul Dairy. The visibility was so poor and the highway between Severance and Eaton was becoming so drifted that the driver pulled in at one of the farms, where he spent the night. I remember thinking how lucky the farmer's wife was, because she had access to a whole truck full of milk, cream, butter and ice creams.
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I don't remember the exact timeline, but Thanksgiving was the next day or so. I had purchased the turkey and some of the other ingredients for the dinner, but I had planned on another shopping day. That was not to be. There was so much snow that the roads could not be cleared quickly.
We had invited our good friends, an elderly couple that lived three houses down, to join us for dinner, so we went ahead with our plans. We figured out what we had on hand and went with that for our menu. I put the turkey in the oven, but we didn't have the fixings for stuffing. We had pumpkin pie, but no whipped cream. I can't remember the rest, but we made out just fine.
Another elderly neighbor who lived next door didn't want to get out in the cold, so we took her some Thanksgiving dinner.
It took several days to get the road cleared. By that time the goose hunters had driven over the drifts in their trucks, packing the snow, so even though the plow drivers tried their best, the roads were left with ruts. Driving on the roads was similar to driving on a washboard. It was like that for some time, too.
According to tonight's weather forecast, we could have snow Thursday. It makes one wonder …
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.