Banner photo of Larry Eugene Meredith, Patrick Flynn and Ronald Tipton, 2016.

The good times are memories
In the drinking of elder men...

-- Larry E.
Time II

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Mother Natures March Madnesses


They say March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. If only the month would be that predictable. As much as one may look toward the month with expectations of gusty winds sweeping in a new and welcome spring, Mother Nature has a habit of throwing harsher surprises our way. The mating of madness with March happened before it became a mantra for a basketball tourney. These moments included the legendary Blizzard of 1888 and the 1983 Storm of the Century. Yes, despite the tons of snow we have seen this winter, one can’t put the shovel and salt in the shed until the mad month of March has passed.
My most memorable winter storm was in March of 1958. That was a long time ago, but it sticks in my mind with incredible clarity. Being a boy at the time, I accepted the hardship as a great adventure, but it was a serious storm that could have had dire consequences, and indeed, did have for many. This was the storm that led to Elizabeth Taylor’s then husband, Mike Todd’s death.
The storm hit accompanied with harsh March winds. I lived along a major highway just outside of Pottstown, Pennsylvania at the time, an area use to snow and always well prepared. The nearby quarry trucks were equipped with plows and were out in force early, but even they couldn’t keep ahead of the snow and winds. Such drifts piled up across the Pottstown Pike it defeated their efforts and they had to give up even trying to keep that thoroughfare clear. There was no hope at all for the back roads. Then the weight and wind began taking down trees and wires.
We were thrown back to the last century. We lost our phone and electricity during the storm. Being in the country, this meant we lost all our modern conveniences. The electric appliances were useless and you can’t cook on an electric stove without a current. We had no heat because the oil furnace starter worked off electricity and we had no water because the well pump worked off electricity. You couldn’t even flush the toilet.
Fortunately for us, the farmer across the road had a springhouse and allowed us to use it to get drinking water and that family gave us kerosene stove to huddle about for heat. We survived through the kindness of neighbors, for there was no escape. The roads were impassable, even emergency vehicles were unable to reach much of the countryside. We had no phone to call for help anyway; those lines were down as well.
Our outages lasted three days and it was a week before I was back to school. Since my school drew from the rural area of farms, there were a number of kids who didn’t return to school for another two weeks, until Mother Nature gave her permission for spring to work its thawing magic and clear all those country roads.
So all the people I have heard in recent times complain we don’t get winters like we use to, I hope they were satisfied by February’s storms and for all of us I would say don’t turn your back on March and keep those goulashes handy.

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