Thursday, February 11, 2010
Donner, Party of Two
Once upon a time, I lived in Montana. It snowed there -- a lot. Unfortunately, the residents of the state had decided not to plow the snow off the roads. Federally owned roads got plowed, but state, county and local roads were plowed on a strictly hit or miss basis, and it was mostly miss. That's right: In an area of the country that got an average of over 50 inches of snowfall a year THEY DIDN'T PLOW THE ROADS. When they told me about the "no plow" thing, I thought they were kidding the girl from Florida -- but they were absolutely serious. The reason they gave was that the state had no funding. So imagine my surprise when I awoke one morning to quite an unusual racket, looked out the kitchen window and saw a freaking Zamboni scooting across the local park. The park had been magically transformed into an ice skating rink overnight. They couldn't plow the roads, but they had a freaking Zamboni.
I am convinced that the residents were in complete denial about the whole snow issue. Where as Southerners get whipped into a frenzy over a itty-bitty bit of snow, these people refused to acknowledge the harshness of the local winter. On a day when it was 27 degrees BELOW zero, the local children were outside waiting for the school bus. On Halloween it was three below zero, and we still got trick-or-treaters. The poor things would come to the door, lips blue, shivering, holding their little bags open, muttering the words "trick-or-treat" through chattering teeth. (You won't see any body in the South braving sub-zero temperatures for a handful of miniature Snickers bars -- and yet they think people in the South are stupid. Go figure.)
Bozeman Pass was a memorable experience in the dead of winter. One night when we were crossing the pass, the snow on the was packed down, as slick as could be, and you couldn't see a thing. There was no way to stop when my husband spotted the deer carcass laying in the roadway. The carcass slid under the SUV. I will never forget the sound of it scrapping the undercarriage. That poor, dead deer was frozen solid. Before I could even let out a horrified "Ewwww!!!" my husband turned to me and said: "Now I'm going to have to get the car washed."