Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Beautiful, Terrible Storm

I decorated the Christmas tree while the healthy crowd got to play outside in the snow, moving it away from the sidewalks around the house, the quarter-mile long driveway and the miles of roads down around the farm.
by Charlie Leck

This is but an update of yesterday's blog about the snownommi that came rolling into our part of Minnesota yesterday morning. It was a barn-burner of a storm -- the largest I've seen here in Minnesota in twenty years. We took a total of 20 inches at our home. Many places around this part of the state took more and some took less.

Fortunately, the winds were mild around here. Down in the very flat country of south and southwest Minnesota, they experienced severe blizzards and most of the highways and local roads were closed up tight.

My wife, and her crew of one, dug us out once yesterday, opening our long driveway and all the farm roads and paths out to the animals, but the snow just went on and on and everything needs to be redone today. Our farm worker was a trooper yesterday, giving up other plans to stay through the day to shovel and plow and blow away snow. He's going to do the same today.

The animals depend upon us, you know. They have shelters they can get into, but we've got to make sure the waterers are working and that there is a way to get feed out to them. It becomes the #1 job around a farm at times like this.

I took a photo yesterday of the deck on the west side of my study, to show you how much snow we were getting. Take a look at this morning's photo to see the difference. It wasn't our biggest storm in our nearly 50 years in Minnesota, but it was pretty significant.

I, with my bad hip, wasn't very helpful. I stayed in and finished decorating the Christmas tree. Santa is somewhat disabled this year and he's way behind on Christmas shopping (so I hear). I have a feeling there will be a lot of little gifts under the tree this year -- tiny packages about the size of cash cards for the children's favorite shopping emporiums. Quite frankly, I think that will make all of them happier anyway.

All the local shopping malls closed up yesterday, as did many restaurants and theaters. State and county snow plows were pulled off the road because of the dangers they created for any fools who were daring enough to go out on the roads. As well, the Salvation Army pulled their bell-ringers off the streets for what they said was the first time ever. Quite ironically, one of the events canceled was a 20th anniversary celebration of Will Steger's International Transantarctica Expedition.

The roof of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome (aka Mall of America Field) failed under the heavy storm and collapsed. The Vikings and the New York Giants (NFL) were supposed to play a football game there today (now postponed until Monday night). You can read a story about that and about the other impacts of the storm on life up here -- and see some good photos -- by going to our local newspaper (The Sunday StarTrib). That paper's front-page story called it "a beautiful, terrible storm." And that it was, reminding us again of the power and glory of good, old Mother Nature.
"Across the Twin Cities, residents shoveled, ran snow blowers, got stuck, dug each other out, canceled Christmas shopping (even the Mall of America gave up and closed early) and gazed out exasperated but awestruck at the beautiful, terrible storm."
For those southerns among my readers, who've never seen anything like this, I point you to this little photo slideshow from our local newspaper, which you may find both fascinating and frightening.

Now, on the heels of the snow, comes the cold. Forecasters are calling for highs of 5 degrees today, with windchills down to 30 degrees below zero. Oh, my!

As we used to say all the time, with a giggle and some sense of pride, "Welcome to Minnesota!" At our age now, we don't say that with quite such glee anymore. This was, indeed a memorable storm and young people in Minnesota will be telling their grandchildren about it even as we old codgers always talk about the Halloween storm of '91.

At the very least, I think I can guaranty all Minnesotans a very white Christmas this year. Now, if Santa can only make his way through the snow, bad hip and all, and get gifts gathered up to put beneath our fully decorated and prepared Christmas Tree. Two weeks can make a big difference in Minnesota and I am predicting that Santa will make it and all the good little boys and girls of our family will be pleased as punch by the gifts he brings them even if they are in the form of little plastic cards. Mother will make a feast for us all again and we'll discover once more that the real joy of Christmas is not found in gifts but in the love we have for each other and in being together.

As for me, I'm about to turn to the internet to do a little shopping for my loved ones. It's a wondrous tool for a guy with a bad hip.

From beautiful, white and beaming Minnesota, we send out a wish to all of you scattered across the world: "God bless you, one and all!"


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