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I must have snow in my eyes

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By Jamie Baker-Nantz

I think snow is pretty!

Before you pelt me with snowballs, let me follow up with the thought that I find a quiet peace in looking at a snow-covered field that has no tracks or signs of human or animal life, but I’m about snowed out for this winter.

As I watched the snow fall and fall and fall and blow and blow yesterday, I was reminded of the “winter of ’77”. Granted we did not get the amount of snowfall that was recorded back then, which in some spots in Northern Kentucky turned out to be 3 feet, but just the way the day looked and the way the snow drifted and piled up outside my door, reminded me of that winter.

I was in fifth grade at Walton-Verona Elementary and we missed nearly a whole month of school because of the snow.

Every day of those snow days, I would dress in my long underwear and bright, red coveralls with three layers of socks and go outside and dig. I had an underground tunnel that ran from our back door to the back yard. My dog and I dug out a snow cave in the humongous drift that was between the house and garage.

My mom was worried that the snow cave would fall in on me and the dog and we wouldn’t be able to get out, but we hung out in there anyway and even carved chairs and a table from the snow.

The snow glistened like jewels in the sunlight and after many days developed a crust on it that was hard enough to walk on without falling through. I had my first and only adventure skiing that winter when I got two tobacco sticks from the barn and used them to propel myself down the hill. I sure could have used a ski lift to bring me back to the top, but instead I just trudged up and tried it again. When I tired of the skiing, I’d get out my Radio Flyer sled, throw the dog on in front of me and down we’d go.

I spent hours outside. Most of the time, I only came in when I could no longer feel my backside or nose since I refused to wear a sock hat face-mask.

While I was too young for makeup, I didn’t need any anyway since bright pink cheeks were the results of staying outside all that time.

I’d come inside, peel off all those layers and back up to our Morning Glory wood cook stove. If all feeling had left my feet, I might even drop down the oven door and toast my tootsies until I could walk on them without prickly pains shooting up my legs.

Now that I actually have to drive through the snow to get to work, the snow has lost a little of its magic, but I still think it’s pretty.

Actually, I don’t even mind driving in the snow, but ice is another story.

On Monday as I headed to work, driving the slowest I probably ever have, I managed to be surprised by a few motorists who must have thought they were at the Daytona 500 by the way they were passing me and zooming up behind me.

I could hear my step-dad, who was patient enough to teach me how to drive, telling me to “always keep two car lengths between you and the guy in front of you because you never know when you’re going to slap on your brakes.”

I heard myself repeating that to my 17-year-old daughter the other day as she was learning to maneuver a snow-covered road.

It must be good advice because I heard an AAA representative telling a newscaster on TV last night that the biggest mistake motorists make is not leaving enough space between them and the car in front of them.

It was good advice then and it’s a lesson some people still need to learn.

(Jamie Baker-Nantz is editor of the Grant County News. She can be reached at jbakernantz@grantky.com.)