I’m not actually stupid, you know, and I did grow up in Colorado. As far back as I can remember we used to joke that weathermen in the area go stark raving mad, and that we could get a better weather forecast by flipping a coin or using another form of divination than by listening to the so called experts.

When I was seven there was a a snow storm on my birthday. Which wouldn’t be all that weird, except that my birthday is on the fourth of July. Oh, and the storm was in the morning and by evening it was 80 degrees.

When I learned to drive at 16, mom always made sure even if I was just driving the two miles to the grocery store I had space blankets, water and power bars in the car. Summer and winter. Just in case, you know?

This story is now part of a collection for sale here:

83 thoughts on “Blizzard

  1. I think there are plenty with a “piece of ice” in their eye.

    Too bad we can’t slap them all. 😉

    Oh, nice little story. 😀

        1. Sarah, I definitely did. And to their friends who lived with us. And I very definitely did it to a friend’s son. He was being an ass & said something that hurt his mom. She sort of laughed it off, I walked over & smacked him & told him not to talk to my friend that way. She hugged me later for it. He just looked shocked. Turns outmy dog didn’t like him either.

  2. I like it.
    Oddly enough my Mom’s people (Irish,Irish Traveler ) generally look a LOT more like Dad’s people,skin tone wise(Italians,Balkan ,Spain and Portugal, a few Jews. ) except for one distant cousin in Trieste-THAT guy looked like he’d disappear into a snow bank…

  3. I grew up in the Chicago area, but also spent a couple of years in Denver, so I know all about crazy weather in both places….

    My 1st time ever driving was the day after an ice storm had left about a half-inch of ice on everything. It was overcast again, with a mixture of snowflakes and freezing rain falling onto said ice sheet. My dad was driving us home from church and about halfway there he pulled over and hopped out. I asked what was wrong and he told me to slide over and drive us the rest of the way home, adding “These are the worst conditions you’ll ever see when driving. If you can drive home without an accident today, you’ll be able to drive in anything.”

    Talk about tossing me in the deep end….

    1. Many years ago Jacksonville, Florida got an inch of snow over ice. My brother took a camera to the place out street opened up on the main road and took photos of people trying to drive in the shopping center parking lot. I still have a photo somewhere.

    2. One of my wife’s cousins asked a friend to teach her how to drive. He took her to Going To The Sun road, explained about the clutch and the brakes, and put her in the driver’s seat.

      I left finger-dents in the arm rest when I was on that road.

      1. Going To The Sun road…I left finger-dents in the arm rest when I was on that road.

        Been on that road 3 times. I much prefer driving East to West. Last time (2019) it was West to East … it is a dang narrow road, a long way down on the south edge, with a short rock mortared wall between the road (usually) and the bottom. I also remember the first time. Now that was East to West, but also remember dad leaving dents on the steering wheel. Sure we were on the cliff side of the road … driving a single cab pickup, all five of us crammed/cramped in the front cab (what seat belts?), with a camper (overhead bed, NOT camper shell). He, and mom, watched the cliff overhangs really closely, those tunnels are not very big, wind was blowing hard enough to rock the truck … I would have been 9 or 10. In retrospect, as a child, I should have been leaving finger-dents in the arm rest. As an adult I definitely did.

        1. Once upon a time we decided to take the short drive to Glacier for a summer vacation. All went well until we were on our way up the pass, and a rock fell from above smack into the middle of our windshield. No harm done other than to the car, but sure was “exciting” for a few moments… and we were on the inside lane….

  4. Very very minor nit, I think you might was to call the “Ice Queen” mentioned in the story, the “Snow Queen”.

    In the Hans Christian Andersen, it’s the Snow Queen that puts the piece of ice in the young man’s eye.

            1. The Court of Old Man Winter:

              “May it please your majesty – before you today…”

              Old Man Winter looked up from signing off the docket paperwork for the last case and sighed heavily. “Oh, geez, not you two again.”

          1. The Winter Witch of Narnia. Lewis didn’t mentioned that she managed to live and fled to Denver. 😈

    1. Yeah, it took me a second to realize it was a story.
      Loved it!
      I am willing to pay for a compilation!

        1. If only you could find someone willing to edit those scribblings of yours.
          Don’t suppose there’s a sequel to Deep Pink lurking anywhere in that Portagee hind brain of yours?
          Or did I crawl myself back from the grave just to sit here in abject abandonment?
          I do love you my fine shirttail niece, and happy holidays to you and yours.

    2. Snow on the 4th of July is possible around here (haven’t seen it, but early to middle June is close enough), but near Porto? Naah.

      I went to college where we *usually* didn’t get much snow, but 1/4″ ice storms were common. Since no sane people were on the road one day, and any other crazies were elsewhere, I’d practice coming to a stop with my tires just on the limit line. I probably shouldn’t have tried to have both right side tires on the line, but it was fun.

      Senior year in college, we had a 12″ dump just before Christmas, with a day or two left in finals week. I’d finished, but things were a mite chaotic for a few days.

      1. We had an October snowstorm when I was in college. My mother called a few days after, and my roommate reported that FIRST she asked if we had power again, and only then whether I was in.

  5. Oooh, gaming group– gotta look out for those gamers.


    (((For those who don’t know me– my husband and I were friends who gamed together before we started dating, and now when we yell FOR THE HORDE it’s about our children– but we also make the group in-game roll their eyes because we’re “just too cute.” *shrugs*)))

  6. My daughter would love to find a gaming group where she could meet her future husband.
    And Paul is right: it’s too bad that a good smack to the back of the head doesn’t work in real life.

  7. My sister met her husband in a gaming group. It seems to have worked out.

    OK, so “sceptic tank” is a typo, but I like either possible way of correcting it.

  8. Now I have my excuse for running around slapping people in the head! I’ve kept a whole list of people who need it….

  9. ” straight into the sceptic tank ”
    I see what you did there! Wish i had some sceptic sauce to serve some of my loved ones …
    A hopeful story! 🙂

  10. Wonderful story Sarah. Lord how I wish it was that easy! Reminded me of my maternal G’Ma who always read your palm on your birthday. My goodnes could she see through people. I do not think the inner workings of any human was lost on her. Amazing.

    Thank you for that and your indefagatible spirit. Even when you are down like the rest of us the spirit of the fight lives strong. Keep it up. We win, they lose.

  11. Another one! I like it. I really like the idea of slapping people in the back of the head. It’s gonna happen one day soon, I can sense it…

  12. Was ‘sceptic’ tank a brilliant typo? Not just a septic tank, but one that refuses to believe its contents (which is a Good Thing, if you think about it even without the ice shard involved).

      1. Dorothy Sayers said a lot about how a real story will have things in it the author didn’t deliberately put in. It’s a sign the Creator is putting His bit in.
        Her, “The Mind of the Maker,” is a very illuminating book.

        1. tons of them in my novels. Mostly I get characters coming into my head and saying “So, this story.”
          But more importantly, i always have notes saying put this in in revision. 90% of the time I find the thing is ALREADY there.

          1. Same here. I’ll remember that I meant to fix some bit, go to do so, and discover I’ve already made that exact fix. How prescient is that?? 😀

  13. Sarah, this is probably not your usual media, but: . One of the principals of Strategypage is a game designer, and that includes “popular movements” from the Left, including his own experiences in college in the 60’s and 70’s. That’s covered later in the podcast. Along the way, he discovered that people from the Russian embassy were buying his wargames … and learned that DoD had classified them as munitions.

    The stuff on the political aspects of power–of -influence- –might be of interest.

  14. I have a brother like that. Two of them actually. I wish I could get the cancerous leftism out of their heads by smacking them.

  15. One thing — none of the tractors I drove had a gas pedal that needed to be, or could be, held down with a brick. They had a throttle lever that stayed where you set it, until you needed to change speed. Tractors spend a LOT of time running at constant speed and power, and top speed is typically 10 to 20 MPH, so a gas pedal just doesn’t make sense.

    For the same reason, in place of an odometer a tractor has an hour meter that shows how many times the engine has turned, expressed as hours of runtime at a standard speed, usually between 1,500 and 2,500 RPM. Tractor engines run slow, too.
    Long ago, when men cursed and beat the ground with sticks they called it witchcraft. Now they call it golf.

    1. Yes, this.

      And it would be “operationally” difficult to even have a gas pedal instead of a throttle lever (often underneath the steering wheel, either left or right), since usually both of your feet are already spoken for — typ. the clutch pedal on the left and the brake pedals (plural but side-by-side) on the right. (So, “ever since I was heavy enough to stand on the clutch,” maybe?)

      (For light loads you drive with the steering wheel; for heavier ones you have to steer also with the split rear-wheel brakes: left to turn left, right to turn right, and both together, foot straddling the center split with clutch down too, to stop.)

      Most smaller and less “fancy” tractors also lack any kind of windshield, see the “10 to 20 MPH” above.

      1. And they had that bar to lock and unlock the two brake pedals? It’s been years since I’ve driven a tractor; a lot of them now have a cab, A/C, GPS, and stereo!

    2. The ones I learned on had gas pedals, but you didn’t have to hold them down– when we weren’t there to “drive,” the guys feeding would use a string to tie the wheel to the seat then climb over the (moving) tractor and trailer hitch to start chucking hay out.

      1. That sounds almost familiar; gotta do what you gotta do (only going walking speed, I bet, so you could probably get out of the way of the trailer if your foot slipped off the hitch. Probably.)

    3. I’ve driven one or two tractors with both a hand throttle and a gas pedal, so it’s plausible (but ‘sceptic’ went right over my head).

    4. Only one I’ve driven was a self-propelled baler, and it had a standard gas pedal. Overly sensitive.

  16. Really neat story! (And if only it were this easy…)

    ‘I did what came naturally. In between his “So, if father only apologized” and his “For his privilege” I leaned over, reached, and slapped the back of his head with all the force that had made me a menace at softball.’

    This doesn’t only fit wonderfully into a fairy-tale kind of setting; it also could be taken from a typical shamanic-journey working experience, too. Right down to the question of “but how to dispose of the Bad Stuff?” which is also answered in this story. (See assorted people like, Michael Harner, Caitlin Matthews, and Sandra Ingermann for a lot more on stuff like this.)

    Yes, I do have “at least one” character who is shamanically aware and active, and in a setting where it’s common for diplomats (between societies) to be the same — because it amounts to something of a shared reference system. (And usually, in most traditions, makes it hard to outright lie — but beware the ones where it doesn’t!)

    Vaguely like H. Beam Piper’s “Omnilingual” (where the common reference is physical science), but also pretty different in detail.

  17. I lived in Aurora (I bet Sarah knows where that is) north of Fitzsimmons Hospital (Near the flight path of Stapleton. The latest snow in Colorado is June, the earliest is July. My daughter had her birthday party in May A blizzard hit and it turned into a slumber party because the snow was so deep .

  18. Wonderful story! I love this site as much for the comments as for the curator and her cats.

    In the winter of 1965 my buddies and I set out from Ann Arbor (moving there from San Diego for grad school and to avoid Vietnam I wondered why the place was inhabited) for a civil rights event in Alabama. Leaving 2 feet of snow on the ground for 1 foot in Ohio was an improvement, but when we arrived the Kentucky Bluegrass was snow free. In 1995 I moved to the Bluegrass to take a job, and have lived here ever since except for 18 weeks in Lithuania and three years in Vietnam teaching English.

    Compared to y’all I realize I sound more like Grandpa Simpson. Just trying to participate in something I admire but have little talent for.

  19. Fantastic story, and instructive.
    I still blame the Witch King of Angmar for bad ice or snow events. With current events as they are, his reach is long.
    The story also reminds me of the shard in my own eye. I was in UW Madison in the ‘70s. I was happy to figure it the genius of the Constitution as written, and free markets. I did not think ahead to what all the other students were absorbing. A “ living constitution” which means….anything the Dems want. I argued back, but ultimately I was tagged the” token free market advocate” by one Prof. All the others believed socialism in It’s many forms. I fled to industry employment. But now the struggle for freedom is at its most critical point in my 67 years. All you do Sarah is vital , especially stories with your perspective.

  20. Lovely story! The Snow Queen is not a tale with which I am familiar, so I was quite puzzled by the first few sentences, as I knew you had NOT grown up in Colorado, but there was no other clue that this was a story and not an essay. 😉 Once I figured that out, I enjoyed it very much! Thank you!

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