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Remembering snowfalls

Published December 04. 2010 09:00AM

It is difficult to believe we have already reached December 2010 and true to form temperatures have plummeted from 60 degrees earlier this week to freezing this weekend, but fortunately for now there are no major storms in sight.

One of my first memories as a child was of a snow storm before Thanksgiving that dropped a couple feet of snow on Summit Hill. My mom and dad had bundled me up and put me in this sleigh. My dad had used some old paneling to create a top for a sled which transformed it into a sleigh like Santa's minus the deer of course. I can remember them pulling me through the snow over to my grandmother's house. The tall sides kept the blankets and clothing in place on me and prevented the piles of snow from falling on top of me.

The next deep snow I remember was in 1978, I believe. That year we had a massive blizzard that piled snow drifts up to three or four feet high in town. We were off from school for at least two or three days that time and my friends and I were able to walk over the fences on snow. That year there were piles of snow up around the park on Hazard Street that were easily 20 feet tall. We would fashion slide runs in the snow by packing it down and using them over and over again so that they would freeze and become fast. Those were by far the best runs we ever had in the piles.

After that winter, there wasn't much excitement for years. In fact, most of the 1980s from what I remember denied us of any snowfall at all. My senior year of college which would be the winter of 1988-1989 we might have had three inches of snow tops.

Fast forward to the 1990s specifically 1993 had some memorable snowfalls as did 1996 which crippled Pennsylvania and took a week to get the highways reopened. That particular snowstorm was followed by a quick warm spell that caused massive flooding, an unwelcome bonus. I remember spending a good part of that one remodeling the attic.

It was the winter of 2002, when the next great storm occurred on Christmas Day. This storm was a crippler in Lehighton knocking out power for days on end. I believe it shut this newspaper down as well, a rarity. I was supposed to spend part of my first Christmas with my fiancee, now wife, Katie and her family, but a Christmas Eve dinner with her ended prematurely as the snow began that night. By midnight there was at least three inches on the ground and by Christmas Day it was up to about eight inches.

I bundled my beagle, Rocket, in his coat and trudged on foot down to my parent's house as that was the only place in walking distance I could get on Christmas Day. We spent a quiet day together, the three of us and Rocket watching the snowfall and exchanging gifts. Fortunately we were able to talk with everyone in the family who like us were stuck in their own homes as well.

It ended up being about 7:30 p.m.when I decided to go home. Rocket and I walked out on the back porch only to find the snow was up to my thigh in places. Being a beagle, Rocket just disappeared in the blanket of white fluff. I quickly dug him up and ended up walking him home on my shoulder as he would not walk on his own in the storm.

When I arrived at my house, no one was outside anywhere. The wind howled and snow flew and drifted. I managed to get into the house using a path the neighbor dug and once settled in we relaxed for a bit until Rocket wanted to go outside to do his thing. I looked out on the deck and saw it was covered in four foot drifts, but not having a choice, I did what any good master would do. I told Rocket to sit by the back door and went outside to dig him a place to use.

This is where a little fortune should appear that reads "No Good Deed Goes Unpunished". True to form, I turned to let my eager dog outside only to discover that morning freezing rain had coated the back door and lock with a coating of ice. Drifts blocked my way out of the yard. I was trapped in my backyard while my dog cheerfully wagged his tail and I swore he was mocking me. No one was around to help me get in the house and for a few moments I didn't know what to do. Soon I found my ice pick under a drift. Trying not to break the lock and compound my problem I spent a few minutes in frigid weather chipping off the ice around the knob. Finally, I freed the door knob and was able to open it. The dog happily trotted out as I gratefully charged in the house to warm up.

Suffice it to say, I never go outside in the winter again without checking the door to make sure I can get back inside when I'm done.

Am I looking forward to winter? Always, as long as I don't have to go anywhere it will be just fine.

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