Footprints In The Snow……#191 (the 80’s)

Kansas snow drift

.  Dorothy was right when she said “We’re not in Kansas Toto”.  The weather in Oz never resembled the  atmospheric prevalence of Kansas. A winter snow blanketed the southcentral part of the state. its display presenting a panoramic cleansing of the landscape,  an artistry to behold,  but an arduous venture for the farmers having to champion a nurture for their livestock.  their labor finding the rural section roads closed by wind driven snow drifts.

.  Gary awoke to the celebrated presentation, having evolved into a snowbound challenge.   The school superintendent yet to make his calling,  “a school day”,  or “a snow day”,  Gary would soon discern his decision,  his 4-wheel drive Isuzu having no difficulty traversing the snow-covered road and accessing the high school bus enclosure.   Glen Piper, the superintendent  having disclosed a means for notification of an unexpected school snow day for the custodian drivers,  “If my car tracks go to the bus enclosure gate, it signifies a school day and I’ll be at the Central Office if you have any problems.   Gary’s 5:00 a.m. arrival at the high school,  finding Glen’s school Chevrolet having left its footprints in the snow.

.  The school’s 4-wheel drive Suburban having no problems tracking the snow-covered blacktop to the Grade School,  Gary’s intuition expressed him to commence his suburban route 45 minutes early.  Before leaving,  placing a call to the David Meyer farm,  his first miring rural road stop,  a query about the snow conditions addressing the road to the farm.  David confirming what Gary suspected,  because of the north wind and heavy drifting,  the west arteries branching from the highway  blacktop may have  impassable drifts, but the north and south tributaries were passable,  David relating,   the ¾ mile east access to his farm from the northern trek of the river road was normally passable.  With the snow coming down the Suburban accomplishing the Medicine River Bridge without difficulties, turning west at the Girty’s residence onto the rut defined mile section paralleling the Medicine River,  the 8 inches of snow, could canopied up to 16 inch drifts, the twelve passenger Suburban,  its four actuating wheels  accomplishing the rising snow deposits.

.  The westward river road now curving north, the drifts having diminished,  the accumulated snow now a cushion.  Turning onto the easterly ¾ mile section towards the Meyer farm,  immediately encountering formidable drifts,  the 4-wheel drive transport having difficulty, losing traction,  its movement more lateral than  forward, the visibility marginal,  finally its proscenium burrowing into a 2 foot drift,  its forward dispatch coming to a halt. The lights of the Meyers residence could be seen glowing,  Gary hesitating, about to notified  Glen to call David,  he was within walking distance if they had snowshoes,  when the lights of a tractor snapped to attention.  David displaying equanimity, having surveyed the road situation, his John Deere tractor made ready to transport his daughter Loretta and the eldest daughter Sherrill to the drift halted vehicle, Gary able to reverse course backing up to the lightly drifted north and south road.

.  Upon leaving the Meyer’s, Gary’s Suburban  returning on the snow covered northern 3 1/2 miles to the reaches of the black top pavement of  Gerlane Road still decorated with snow, then turning east his second stop, the Luthi Farm.   Gary pulling up to the house, recognizing the presence of his old 50 Dodge pickup having found employment running fence on the country spread, Gary having sold it to Dan Luthi years earlier.  Cassie Luthi was always ready, not just on time for her ride to school, but with a beaming attitude to greet each day.  Her father, Danny Gene Luthi  from Perryton Texas having attended Northwest Oklahoma State College in Alva, when he met Susan Beth Spicer from Hazelton Kansas.  Dan and Susan wed and moved to Robbins Tennessee when Cassie Elizabeth entered the world in Knoxville.  Dan was farming and raising cattle,  Susan was teaching school when Cassie’s Grandfather George Spicer convinced them it was time to resettle in Kansas.

.  With an ever smiling Cassie joining the more serious Sherrill and Loretta,  the chauffeur driven school suburban continued east on the snow packed Gerlane Road,  turning left onto the black top road enabling the 8 miles to Sharon Kansas, the first mile section cross-road discovering the farming home of Zachariah and Madison Tyrell Odell.   The two brothers, the sons of Brenda Lea (Spicer) Odell, the daughter of Don Spicer. The Odell brothers, like their cousin Cassie were pillars of exuberance, projecting a non-serious carefree world, enjoying the momentary events of  their surroundings.   The two boys reminding Gary of himself at that age, discovering the meaning of life in a single word, adventure.  The boys relating on their search for  coyotes den’s,  the time they let a skunk in the house, and their discovery of the  unforgettable Hot Rock tree.

.  The morning finding the boys ready as usual, the driver mentioning  “It’s too bad it’s not a school snow day”.  The Suburban continuing on  another 2 1/2 miles stopping at the Gene Pollock farm to pick up his oldest daughter before traversing onto highway 2  for the final two student stops,  and the 12 mile return  to Kiowa.  Gary was very cautious crossing the railroad tracks approaching  (Junior) and Vonda Domnick’s farm to gather their daughter Holly, but even more so when crossing back as the terrain has a blind spot and the passing train from the north can suddenly appear.

.  With the gathering of Holly, the last stop normally just a mile from town, the Girty residence, Dan and his younger sister Janelle just living far enough out-of-town to warrant a ride to school, but the last stop was subject to change with the addition of the Elliott family at the Chain Ranch adding another 14 miles to Gary’s suburban route..

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