January Blizzard

Reader Contribution by Lois Hoffman
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Here in southern Michigan we’re experiencing “Ion,” the blizzard of 2014 as are many others in the Midwest and northeast. Yes, the sub-zero temperatures are dangerous, the howling winds are treacherous and the snow pretty much brings everything to a standstill.

However, there is a positive side. It forces us to take time for each other. When I was a kid growing up we had a couple winter storms each year. We lived on the state highway M-60, and one year it was so bad that five feet of snow covered the highway. There was no traffic for days. Everyone back then didn’t have snow plows, 4-wheelers with snow blades and the like to open up drives.

We did it the old-fashioned way with snow shovels. Yes, it would take a whole day, with lots of breaks, to clean out our circle drive. But, it wasn’t so bad. There would always be a couple snowball fights, lots of telling jokes and, generally, spending time together.

Today everyone is so busy. Families have activities planned for nearly every night, with everyone going their own way. Then, there are the smart phones, iPads, iPods, tablets, Nooks and all the other electronic devices that we can’t seem to live without.

Sometimes it takes a blizzard to quiet things down. Our grandsons are learning to play the card game Canasta. This is retro to my grandparents’ age. One night while snowed in we popped corn and played checkers. It was a hoot.

One afternoon while snowed in I wrapped up in a blanket and started a book that had been on my list for quite a while. It had been on my list because I didn’t have time, uh take time, to read.  I totally got absorbed in it.

It was also a time to reflect. We didn’t run the two miles into town for a loaf of bread or a gallon of milk. If we didn’t have it, we did without. It just happened that the night before the storm hit we were in the town where we usually buy groceries and stopped in for a couple random items. People were crazy, pushing and shoving and buying everything on the shelves. I tried to pick up one dozen eggs and was pushed out of the way twice.

It is a good feeling to know that we have never been that desperate. That is what growing up in the country does for us. We have learned to fill the freezers and the pantry in the summer when fruits and vegetables are plentiful. Fall is a time to stock up on meat. Yes, we could do quite nicely for some time without leaving the house.

In a couple days the storm will be history, roads will be cleared and things will be back to normal. Sometimes, though, it is nice to have a little break from normal and experience the slower pace and richer life that sometimes seems all but gone.

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