We have 4 – 6 inches of snow forecast, beginning this evening and continuing until tomorrow evening. Jim Rasor, our local meteorologist, has said that some areas in Southern Illinois could receive, as much as, 8 – 10 inches. Now, this is a major, winter in the fall, event, for us! There are years that we receive little more than a few, dustings, of snow. There are other winters that we receive 2 – 4 inches…once or twice…and we call it a, hard winter!
I remember the blizzard of 1978. I was, extremely, interested in a girl named, Mary Jane, and when it snowed 20+ inches…I proceeded to the trailer that she and her friends, Faye and Robbin, shared…and I began to shovel their automobiles out of a snow…like I had never seen!
I worked, most of the day, and they had me inside for hot chocolate and praise of my accomplishments…and then I proceeded to shovel some more. I was 20 years old.
My buddy, Steve, and I worked for June’s Janitorial Service. One of our housekeeping customers was Ziegler Coal Company’s headquarters in Johnston, City. As the snow, dumped several inches per hour, on us…Steve asked if we should chance driving the, nearly, 20 miles to Johnston, City, and I answered that I was certain that we could do it and that it would not be a problem for us!
As we drove through the, total white-out, I could not ascertain if I was on the road…or where the road was? I asked Steve if he could stick his head out of the passenger side window and see if we were, still, on the road…or in a field?
Steve began to give me navigation instructions…turn left…turn right…hold her straight…and Oh NO…we are in the ditch!
I asked Steve if he could push us out of the ditch…and I would steer…and if we could succeed…we would head for home…and not look back! He pushed us out with his, herculean strength, and we subsequently turned around and did not look back.
I began working at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale in October of 1978. In January of 1979…we had another, massive snowfall, that obliterated roadways and traffic and closed…virtually everything.
Faye heard that SIUC was closed…but I was so appreciative of my, new job, at SIU…that I was afraid not to show up for work. So, I proceeded to drive to the University…which was 20 miles from my home in Elkville.
There were no, demarcations, for highway #51. You simply had to trust your instincts. It was like driving in an open field!
When I, finally, arrived at SIU Building Services, I proceeded to attempt to enter the office, and discovered that the door was locked and that there was only a night light on. I, finally, understood, that, indeed, we were closed.
My colleague, Elbert Covington, drove up…and I was pleased that someone, besides myself, had made the, peril fraught trip! Elbert, walked to the front door of our office and pulled on the door knob and began to shout, ‘hey…hey…Brooks and Covington are here and ready to go to work!’
Elbert, was, finally satisfied that there was no opportunity for he and I to work…that evening. He, subsequently turned to me and invited Mary Jane and I to his house, in Desoto, Illinois…for hot chocolate. Now, DeSoto was 7 miles closer than my town, Elkville, and I thanked him but assured him that if I could make it back home…I would not be venturing out, again, that night!
Steve and I were the, on-call Sextons, for our little church in Elkville. I recall, vividly, being requested to shovel snow at our church to facilitate attendance at an evening service on Thanksgiving. Neither of us liked it…so much. After all…it was Thanksgiving and we thought that church should be canceled to facilitate families being together for the entire event. There was a lot of snow…and we wondered what the other, young men and young families, of the congregation…were doing…were they eating turkey…and mashed potatoes…and dressing?
Cody, the fine young man who, expertly, cuts my grass, has asked me if I want him to plow my driveway and shovel around my porch and walkways…and I…enthusiastically answered…yes!