I’m taking a break this week from writing about Laurel County women while I tie up a few loose ends in my research about Laurel County women.
Instead, I want to write about . . . WINTER!
Yes, I’m sitting at home today peering out the window at winter storm Jonas wreaking havoc with the world — well, my little corner of the world, anyway.
But, as the Good Book says, “there is nothing new under the sun.”
In looking through some back issues of old Laurel County newspapers, I found that the Mountain Echo reported in its December 30, 1873 issue that “a few days ago we had a fine snow” and that some of the men were “putting up ice for the summer” and the ice was about two inches thick.
Another issue in another winter (sorry, I forgot to note the date) reported that the ice was nine inches thick! Yes, in Laurel County!
Then, the January 4, 1878 issue of the Mountain Echo reported that “a fifteen inch snow fell last night.”
When I was growing up in rural Laurel County we often had deep snows. Maybe not as deep as the one Jonas is dumping on us now, but they were much more frequent–and deeper–than they have been over the past few years.
Maybe it’s global warming, or el nino, or climate change, or a combination of all three plus other factors of which I’m not aware, but snows in Laurel County the past couple of decades have seemed fewer in number and (generally) less impressive in terms of volume than when I was a kid.
Of course, when I was a kid, I was all for a nice deep snow. The more, the merrier.
But age changes one’s perspective. When we have a snow like the one we’re experiencing today, all I can think now about is whether the electricity will stay on and whether we have enough to eat if we can’t get to the grocery store for a couple of weeks.
Time, it seems, has made me more practical, if nothing else.
But it’s also fun to think back on those earlier days when my sister and I went across the road to the neighbor’s house with our sled in tow to ask if we could slide down their hill — which was much higher and infinitely more dangerous that the hill on our side of the road.
Those were the days when our mother dressed us in so many clothes we could hardly move because SHE was cold.
And we’d come home from the neighbor’s hill soaked to the bone and shivering from the cold in spite of Mother’s precautions. She would dry us off, put us in our flannel jammies, make us some hot chocolate and sit us down in front of the potbelly stove to thaw out.
Yes, indeed, those were the days.
I really don’t miss them at all!
Stay in. Stay warm. Stay safe. See you next week!
Danna C. Estridge