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     Snowbound: “Blockaded by snow.” — Merriam Webster Dictionary

Snow covered the driveway to the farm house and looked like icing on a giant birthday cake.

I could see the drifts curled high on the south side of the old garage, which acted like a snow fence against northern storms. Farther south, toward me, the white, crusty blanket leveled out at an unknown depth.

As I turned off the gravel road onto the approach, I wondered if I should gun the engine and plow ahead or do something more prudent, like stop the car.

Growing up in Lyman County, I had learned the hard way while rabbit hunting that what appeared to be a beautiful, harmless coating of snow in a section-line could lure an unsuspecting driver into axle-deep immobility in a hurry.

Since I was in a two-wheel drive car, I decided not to risk it. Instead, I took another route around behind the house, which my nephew keeps cleared for access to his own home.  But as I proceeded, I noted that the deep ruts in the snow showed that it hadn’t been plowed, merely packed in places by 4-wheel-drive pickups going to and fro.

Nevertheless, I forged ahead and suddenly my car jarred to a stop, high-centered on the hardened snow. I tried to push open the door, but it jammed against the bank.


Managing to get the door open after numerous shoulder bumps, I surveyed the scene. It wasn’t pretty. The low-slung, front-wheel drive car had managed to bury its undercarriage in the center ridge of snow.

Well, that’s not quite accurate. The car did nothing of the sort. The driver, experienced but getting on in years, got careless. He wasn’t paying attention. He miscalculated. He was overconfident. Whatever.

What he did do was go looking for a grain shovel, a spade, a spud bar and a snow shovel, which he found a hundred yards away in the old garage. Trudging back to the car, he wondered how he could have been so blind.

Three hours later, as dusk was falling, the car inched backward, aided by some old shop rugs for traction.

I sheepishly confessed this episode to a longtime family friend, Leo Woster, who grew up a mile away and for many years has lived in Alaska.

“Yes, I remember it well. Back in the day your brother Kent and I wanted to get stuck. We thought digging out was fun. Not anymore. Funny how things change.”

Have they ever.

Feb. 20, 2019