November 16, 2011



Well, the first flakes of winter have been scattered across the northern plains. And I guess in Colorado, they were really scattered. Winds over the weekend of well over one hundred miles per hour! You don’t see many pictures of snow sitting six inches deep on a fence post in that country. That even makes the readers in Harding County sit up and take notice!
And that little squall that blew across our area already has affected traffic. Several vehicles off the road in oil country. That makes me a little nervous. If our newfound friends can’t control their cars on the little ice we had in this deal, it’s going to get pretty darn tough out there when the snow is up to your pockets and visibility down to the end of your nose. Luckily, I have a fairly good-sized nose!
I don’t suppose there is anything scarier than a good old Dakota white-out. You know the kind I mean. One where you don’t dare go forward because you can’t see the road at all. You have Shirley hanging out the window trying to see the edge of the road. You don’t dare stop because you might get hit from the back.
One time Kenny and I were hauling a load of yearlings to Nebraska and got caught in a blizzard in South Dakota. It was a ripper. Somewhere on 281 we came to a junction where several trucks had stopped. We turned our truck east and shut down for the night. Wind must have been seventy mph and snowing hard. Visibility was less than zero! By morning we had drifted in and our fuel was gelling up. We got the truck creeping ahead and made it into Woonsocket. That’s right! Woonsocket! At Woonsocket, the guy that owned the bar also owned a feedlot. He got his loader running and cleared snow so we could get the cattle unloaded. We spent the next three days between an old hotel and a bar and steakhouse in Woonsocket. And that’s all I’m going to say about that, because Shirley reads this column.
But the best blizzard story I can come up with this morning relates to a friend I had in the legislature years ago. He had stopped at the Pour Farm south of Minot on his way home. Well, it was pretty nasty and he needed a break from the road. If I had been there, I wouldn’t have let him leave. You know, “friends don’t let friends…” Anyway, he stopped and visited quite awhile. And when he took off he shouldn’t have been on the road. And luckily, he wasn’t for very long.
He ran in the ditch a bit down the road. And being a good law abiding citizen he was determined to not speed. That snow was blowing by his car and he kept both hands on the wheel. He held that speedometer at 55 mph for several minutes, not realizing he was sitting still.
The patrolman walked up to his window and tapped on it! Yeoww!!! You can imagine how that old boy jumped! To this day, he has never taken another drink.
I miss him.