……we passed the time away writing love letters in the sand…..(No wait! it was not that!..that was Pat Boone’s “Day Like Today”…..)

On my “Day Like Today” (freezing rain) it was a January 14 many years ago..more years than I can accurately count but I have not forgotten the Great Ice Storm that year on January 14. The results turned out to be quite hilarious for a few hours that fateful night when all the roads were covered with 3 inches of glare ice. We were safely at home…our 3 sons were all lving at home at the time and I recall that one of them had gotten a gift at Christmas of one of the “Prehistoric” first electronic games (battery operated)..this comes into play later in the story.
I had spent that day baking homemade cinnamon rolls and egg bakes for a January 15 birthday party to be held at my home the following day. I had a lot of food on hand.
About 7 p.m. there was a knock on the door and I opened it to my youngest son’s friend “Felix” (not his real name) who was holding a cardboard box full of puppies. “We have to come in,” he said, “We can’t get up the hill.” He and the puppies were inside in a flash. They were followed by his parents, “Edgar” and “Nancy” (not their real names and an elderly lady (“Helen”..not her real name) who was their neighbor—- and two college students from Nigeria..whose names I never learned that night.
My mind went into overdrive….. figuring out where everyone would sleep that night because it was obvious they were not going to get any farther than our place.(the Puppies had accompanied “Nancy” to her workplace that day because they could not be left alone at home)
After trying to drive up a long hill east of our town, they had to back down it along with many others trying to go east on Highway 10. The road was coated with glare ice. They decided to try a gravel road route and had tried to climb another big gravel covered hill east of our farm, but it was ICED IN like everything else that night and they had to back down that hill also..as well as back up about 3 miles to our place!!
It was an interesting cast of characters….the parents of our son’s good friend were also our good friends and “Edgar” had agreed to sell a car to the students from Nigeria who had come with him from Fargo to pick up their car. The Ice Storm had flummoxed them all. My friend “Nancy” had a birthday on January 15 and it was for her I had done the baking and cooking earlier that day as we were going to have friends over for a big brunch that next morning…til the Ice ended all plans for a few days. The neighbor lady “Helen” had driven to town to get a few groceries and was stranded on the long hill on Highway 10 also so she joined the family with the puppies hoping to get back to her home a few miles from theirs. The students from warm tropical central Africa had never seen such a day…they were dressed in canvas shoes and light summer jackets! But they seemed to be very unconcerned about the weather..it was us Minnesotans who felt like we were running around with our hair on fire! “Helen” had a head of cauliflower in her hands when she came through our door so we put in our refrigerator. I soon decided to cook all the egg dishes and serve cinnamon rolls and eggs and coffee and milk..and fruit..I had a lot of fresh fruit for our “breakfast that never was” also. We sat down arround our table…the family of 3, Helen,our family of 5 and the students from Nigeria. After we ate heartily, my son and one of the students were having a great time playing “football” on his new game.
Then the two older guys…”Edgar” and “Art” ..decided that they would see if the road was better since it had started to snow lightly over the ice.
Suddenly as fast as they had arrived, they left with “Art” driving another car …just in case. This time both cars got up the hill and proceeded to the other farm home where the students wanted to get their car. They paid for it and set out in the snowy night to drive back to Fargo…no experience with winter driving… but what the heck? One of the students had made a phone call at out house in which he asked the one who answered to “Please take the rice off the stove”.
That must have been the driest, burned up rice in history!!!!
The people were safe…the puppies were safe..the students were on their way back to Fargo and “Helen” got home..but she forgot her cauliflower and I threw it out a few weeks later after it had turned black with mold in my refrigerator.
A few months later, our friend who had sold the car was enraged when HE received a number of parking fines from the city of Fargo for the car he had sold. The students did not know they had to register the car in their own names!!!! It got straightened out but not before a lot of angry shouting had occurred and instructions issued on how to register a car.
It was truly a NIGHT TO REMEMBER..even after all these years have passed.
But everytime we have freezing rain..I recall if as if it was just happening!

Published by

Kay Syvrud

I am a retired elementary "schoolmarm"..I was a school librarian/media director for nearly 25 years before I retired in 2004. Naturally one of my fondest things is reading! I also love reading aloud to young children, something I did for so many years with amazing results; every child wants to read the same book as the teacher read!!!! I also am fond of my gardens...both flower beds and vegetable plots. I love being outdoors....mowing the lawn after my husband has done so with a big lawn tractor...I trim with my small power mower! I have a rain barrel to collect rainwater for plants! I have an old fashioned "pedal" bike I love to ride. I enjoy going to a Silver Sneakers class at a community center about 20 miles from my country home on what I call the "Buffalo Bluff" which overlooks the Buffalo River and its valley below. I LOVE to write and am working on a book for my grandkids so they will always know more about Grandma when she was still "kickin" and "had all her marbles"!!!!