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Getting through the winters

February 24, 2014
By Ellayne Conyers , Marshall Independent

Back in the olden days, when I was a kid living in the country, we often were forced to stay in town after school because of the snowstorms and unpassable roadways. When school started in the fall we were required to either reach out to town folks or they would reach out to us individually, to make arrangements to stay at their house during a snow emergency. We pretty much knew everyone and everyone knew us or who we belonged to.

I remember one time my girlfriend and I decided to pair up and stay with Pete the Barber and his wife. They fed us a wonderful supper and we all listened to the radio in the evening. My friend and I were enchanted to find that our hostess left black, silky, sexy nightgowns for us to wear to bed that night. We rarely had to stay in town more than one night we probably did not always have school the next day but parents usually were able to come into town to pick us up. How did we give our thanks to these generous kindly folks? I would walk downtown the next day to go to the Meat Freezer Plant where I would go into the freezing room and take out some steaks from our meat compartment that we kept meat in after butchering delivered to my wonderful friends who sheltered us during the storm.

There were also times when the buses would leave town after school and get stuck in the deep snow covering the road or slip into a ditch. Then the bus driver would guide the children to the nearest farm house where the startled and unready farm couple would welcome a dozen or more school kids of varying ages into their home where they were fed and bedded for the night.

Looking back to March of 2007 I remember Marshall was host to a snowstorm this was NOT a blizzard just a lot of snow that came down gently, although thick and slippery. It closed schools, service centers and MnDOT even closed all the state and federal highways in and out of town.

Most of the businesses closed, with the exception of one of our downtown bars, that ended up doing a land-office business during this three-day sojourn. A worker there stated, "People could not get to work (or work was called off) but they were able to make it to the bar people were three-deep in here. One of the waitresses made $250 in tips the first night." This storm was more like an event that came at the end of what should have been our winter that gave everyone something to talk about.

The media highlighted, especially the coming of, the storm making it out like the biggest news story ever (in fact, I don't recall hearing much about Iraq for four days). Our neighbor from across the street reveled in this event because he had a chance to get out his red snow blower, mounted on a little tractor, in which he was encased in its protective shield from the snow and temperature. He went up and down everyone's driveway and sidewalks all the way down the street. (This kindly neighbor has continued to do this each winter.) He even did most of the work for the street department before they even had a chance to get out our way. Now, he just didn't do this once, at the end of the storm, he did it several times during the storm as well. It was the chance he had been waiting for all winter so he could again drive his little red tractor and it gave the rest of us something to watch during the boredom of just sitting in front of our TVs for four days.



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