I hoped you got along all right with our first big snowfall in several years. We received around 15 here. With wind gusts up to 40mph. That, in my book, qualifies as a blizzard.
By Dean Meyer
It was tough, but in the worst part of the storm, I made it into town to play pinochle. There is nothing scarier than being snowed in at home. But as the storm was weakening, I did do a good deed. I took the loader tractor into town to fuel up, and pulled two vehicles out of the ditch on the way home. Didn’t even talk to them. Just pulled them out, waved, and headed home.
Now, years ago, I would have visited a bit, and hoped one of them was a Ted Turner or Howard Hughes, who would be so impressed with my kindness they would pay off my bank notes and build me a new house. But I’m giving up on that and just hoping they do the same for someone some day.
When it storms for the first time in years, you forget how to drive. I got stuck in a snowdrift when feeding cows. It was a drift that would have embarrassed me to be stuck in years ago. And me with no shovel. But I did have my phone. Which is much easier.
And that made me think of a big drift I was stuck in about thirty years ago.
Dad and I had put a dozer on our four-wheel drive tractor. I remember it was a Degelman dozer. About as wide as the wheels. I think the tractor was a 7020 JD. I know it was green and had eight wheels.
Boy, we were proud of that. Instead of fighting our way to the river to cake cows we could plow that road with that dozer! It would be super! I got in that tractor and started for the river. Going down the road and heading across the flat it was super. I was rolling about 12 mph and rolling that snow like I was a professional operator. This was the greatest day of my life! No more shoveling scoop after scoop of snow from underneath a four-wheel drive pickup loaded with a ton of cake. I was the King!
As you get across the flat you dropped into the badlands. Snow drifted across the flat and piled up on the road going down this hill. A lot of snow. More snow than you could possibly imagine. No, more than that.
I neared the edge of this hill and shifted that tractor down a gear. In seventh gear I would have enough power to throw that snow far enough to clear that road once and for all.
I smiled as the snow started to roll and gave an evil laugh as I gave her full throttle. I let out a rebel yell as I went over the edge and started down that hill! Yeehaww!!! Well, maybe not a rebel yell. But a yell.
The snow piled in front of me. It started coming over the top of the dozer. There was about ten feet of snow in front of me and at least that much to the sides! And the hill was steeper than I remembered. I hadn’t been there since yesterday. All of a sudden the tractor stopped. But the wheels didn’t stop. They kept spinning.
Have you ever tried to back a rubber-tired tractor up a steep hill covered with glare ice? With about a million ton of snow in front and underneath you!
Have you ever looked at a million ton of snow in front of your tractor and all you have is a number sixteen-scoop shovel. And realize that the only way out is forward?
And it is not a pleasant feeling. It really proves that I am dumber than snow.
Dean Meyer is a former legislator and ranches in southwest North Dakota. He has been a columnist around the state for years.