Friday, March 7, 2008

Snow memories

One of the nice things afforded us in the Air Force was living in a variety of places. Most all of the places that had significant snowfalls, especially Hill AFB, Utah and Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.

We expected to wake to a good snowfall this morning, but it did not begin to fall until later in the morning, and has snowed all day long, down to a very gentle snow now. I miss getting out in it.

When I was a teenager and an early driver, I remember one night we had been to Nannie and Granddaddy's house. We lived on Arkansas Street, located at the top of a steep hill. Daddy stopped, and got out, making me get behind the wheel to drive because he wanted me to learn from him, how to drive in the snow. He was a police officer at the time. Brenda was six years old. Mama was a beautician. I'm glad he did because I never dreamed I would be in as many snow-driving situations as later I would be in my life. This is but one of the many things Daddy took me to teach me how to do so that I could learn how to do correctly. Smile. I just had to erase a bit because I was getting off on a tangent about him and the things he used to teach me. Now, back to the subject at hand. Snow!

We had a couple of memories in Ankara, Turkey, but only one that I want to share within this writing. Ankara is a very hilly city. Steep hills that some might say verge on the beginning of small mountains. For a girl from the flat cotton Delta country in Eastern Arkansas, I like to think of them as small mountains. Please allow me this indulgence, especially looking back thirty-six years. The first place we lived was not heated well at all. I had to learn all about using a fireplace for warmth, and keeping the childrens play things in that area. Most of the wood was still too green, and it was a chore for me to keep it going, therefore it was warm one minute, cold the next, with the children wearing outer wear all day long. When our year's lease was up, we moved to an apartment further down the *mountain* (okay, hill) over to Resit Galup. One of the things that always amazed us were the daring pursuits the Turkish men undertook. After a good sized snowfall one day, we stood on our balcony and watched as they used flattened cardboard boxes and sled down the middle of the street. The street was not blocked off from any direction. A vehichle of any kind could have come along from any direction, and there was nothing they could have done to protect themselves, their mantra being, "Whatever God wills."

From Ankara to Ogden, Utah, just took us to real snow country for the first time in our lives. It started snowing for the first time that winter the day our household goods arrived! Nice!! Depends on if you are a kid or an adult, how old you are, and what your responsibilities are. *Smile* After that, the ground stayed covered with snow until Springtime. I dropped a yard stick down, and the snow was higher than it was. Living on base meant that we had to keep the walkways in front of our house cleared of the snow by a certain time. Noooo problem!! I was in my youn 30s, and my rheumatoid arthritis was under pretty good control then. *I* could do it!! Oh. Maybe just one problem. The snow fell faster than I could shovel it! Jim had to work, so it was up to me to shovel. What I couldn't do, he would finish up when he got home, but usually it was too dark. One day I remember just getting our driveway cleared, and here came the base street clearer. And where do you think he shoveled the street snow?: You got it!! Right into my freshly shoveled drive! I had no choice but to reclear it because there was no way Jim could have gotten in later with the volkswagon van. The drifts were as high as it was anyway. The street in front of our house was barely wide enough for us to back out into, and turn to get going forward.

The boys were eight, and five that winter, and found lots of fun playtime in the snow. There was a large area between the back of the units. The across the street, and up a little rise (no, no big hill nor mountain there ;) it was just the right size for the young boys to slide down on their sleds, purchased and homemade. It was nice for me because I could look directly out the window over my sink, and see them over there, while keeping up with at least one child who didn't go out and play in the snow, the Original Baby, it was. Jimbo stayed out too long one day, and came in with ice cold feet. It took a lot of gentle warming to get him comfortable again. Years later ('79), when Jim got orders for South Dakota, Robert was all excited about *snow country* Jimbo said to him, "Robert you must not remember the years of living in the snow." He did, and had had enough of it! And like I said earlier, it depended on if you were a kid, and how old you were as to how you viewed the snow.

Our time in Utah was short; less than a year, and we were headed to Dayton, Ohio. It was going to be our longest assignment ever since marrying in 1962. This was 1973 we went there in the midst of an August heat wave. Was that ever going to change! Dayton could drop just about any kind of weather you could think of!! And this was not even lake-effect snow! A memory of being caught in blizzard conditions in the Volkswagen van between base housing named Page Manor and Area C where the main gate was located. The days before car and cell phones. No choice but to keep going. No choice to accept being afraid of the fifty plus winds with snow blowing me off the road, into another car, or worse (but I was when it was all over and we were at our destination). All I could do was just grip the steering wheel more tightly, and pray. I cannot recall the circumstances surrounding that incident, but I think it was the grip on the steering wheel that left the imprint in my mind. Thank goodness for well-behaved children. We could have our times of lightheartedness of singing and joking and fun songs whenever we were going places, which we did a lot of, but when it came to seriousness, they knew, and would buckle down to business.

This is just an inkling of our snow memories I have put down first of all for my children, and then for my readers, bringing us up to our latest assignment here in Blytheville, from which these pictures were made tonight. We *probably* will not get another significant snowfall this season, so I'd like to get some more pictures tomorrow during the day, and see what other memories I can recall. Maybe the old red scoop can find some for me. We'll just have to see. I've been wondering about it lately while I've been down, and unable to write with just thinking time on my hands. Keep checking.

Some friends and relatives did not know, but if you click on the pictures, you can view them in full size.
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Second Great-Grandchild
Kaitlyn Nicole Gilliam

"If I can help somebody as I pass along,
Then my living will not be in vain."

Striving for a world without Myasthenia Gravis

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