EIGHINGER: As long as ESPN stayed on, surviving the blizzard was a snap

Posted: Feb. 1, 2012 8:55 am Updated: Feb. 29, 2012 10:15 am

A year ago today we were all caught somewhere between "What the heck?!" and "Whoa-a-a-a!!"

On Feb. 1, 2011, if you lived anywhere in West-Central Illinois and Northeast Missouri, you likely spent much of the day watching the snow come down ... and down ... and down.

We were eventually informed that a record 22-inch snowfall had turned the entire region into one big marshmallow pie.

I remember Feb. 1 like it was yesterday and what the first thought was running through my head.

º Was it about food supplies? Would the Little Woman and myself be able to fend off hunger, not to mention whatever wild animals threatened to attack the mancave in search of chilled raspberry Zingers and sea-salted pita chips?

º How about medical supplies? What if I got a headache shoveling snow and needed a pain pill? (And would I actually shovel snow to begin with?)

º Did we have any loved ones stranded somewhere in a snowdrift between here and Kinderhook?

º Could we get out of our garage? Could we even get the garage door open?

º What about Ashes, the beloved family dog? Would she even be able to get outside to relieve herself, or would she be swallowed up by one of snowdrifts near the garage?

The answers to those, in order, were: Nope, nope, nope, nope and nope.

Actually, the first thing that danced across my brain dealt with our satellite dish. Would our TV programming be interrupted? I told Kathy I might have to climb on the roof and brush the 14 feet of snow off the dish.

"Just make sure you shovel the driveway first," I believe was her retort.

Fortunately, we never lost satellite service, so I was never without ESPN or any of my favorite programs. Hey, if you're going to be cooped up for a few days, you can't be expected to do anything constructive. That's vacation time, outside of the snow shoveling thing.

But even the snow shoveling wasn't too bad, because a kind gentleman with a huge plow on his pick-up truck cleared out our driveway. That saved me about 15 hours of complete boredom and frozen appendages.

The worst part of last year's avalanche, at least for me, was actually the aftermath. When the snow began to melt, especially in the backyard, reality began to surface. When enough of the white stuff had disappeared it was rather startling to look out the window and remember what was once a beautiful winter setting with all of the snow, or in the summer a luscious field of green.

What we saw, however, when the snow melted was either the remnants of a World War II Luftwaffe bombing -- or a month's worth of Ashes relieving herself. Since I had not remembered any recent air raid sirens, I figured the latter was what the snow had been hiding all of those weeks.

So with a shovel and a bucket I went about removing 83 -- yes, I counted them -- piles of ... ummm ... "relief." I remember looking at Ashes at one point and muttering, "Really?"

Oh well, there was still a bright spot to all of that snow, and all of the "aftermath."

We always had TV!




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