’Snow’d today

Rural Route 2, Brookville. No ZIP Code necessary. Zip Codes weren’t even invented yet. But the mail came through every day. Rain or shine, snow or ice.

And so we went. Fairfield spent more unplowed snow days than would be considered safe or practical. In spite of that, we missed very few days of school. My hunch is that it didn’t snow quite all that often, though most of us seem to insist the winters were worse “back then.”

But the winding county roads presented their own obstacles. We used chains on our tires. Either that or we got stuck.

In town, we just made do. Cinders from somebody’s old coal stove did the trick. Three or four shovels full of it and you could melt the ice off 50 feet of street. Grandma fell once on the ice, breaking her wrist. We used to tap on her cast.

For kids, snow was its own Disneyland. We had many places to go sledding. A favorite for Joel and me was across Dimmitt Butcher’s cornfield and up the hill, not far from his pond. We built campfires there and toasted marshmallows and roasted hotdogs. I took my sled down the hill once, and smashed straight into a cedar tree. Boing! I still have problems with that side of my brain.

The old drainage ditches that lined Main Street made for interesting adventures in the snow. If you got enough of it, you could build a little snow fort on one side of it, punch a couple of holes to see out and pack in another wall behind you. Inside, arm yourself with hundreds of snowballs and fend off any army. One snow fort on one side of the street, another on the other side, 20 feet away.

FIRE WHEN READY, GRIDLEY!

We had no place to skate, so nobody did much of that.

We did play basketball, no matter how cold it was. Somebody, usually me, brought a shovel, cleaned off the court and …

FIRE WHEN READY, GRIDLEY!

For events less pugilistic, winter nights tended to draw us inward. We did have television -- Channel 5 and Channel 9. If you turned the antenna, Channel 12, which was the channel that carried “Superman.” With 756 channels today, not much has improved in the way of content.

At Christmas, we’d go around town, singing holiday carols. No single house was missed.

Sometimes, when the storm was strong enough, the lights would go out.

For several hours. Once, our power was out for five days. Willie Davis and Burt Luker had to give food away. The ice cream all melted. The milk spoiled. Nobody knew where the break was. We may have had only one power line into town. We didn’t need much more than that.