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Redwood Falls Gazette - Redwood Falls - MN
  • The mother of all winter stories

  • I learned a valuable lesson as I was walking away from my car stuck in a snowdrift: in Minnesota winter is not over until the good Lord says it is.
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  • I should have listened.
    A few weeks ago someone offered to me a unique perspective on seeing that first robin.
    Contrary to the common concept of that being the first sign of spring, he told me the first sign of a robin indicated there were three more storms ahead.
    Being one to hold with tradition, I assumed he was just a little off and ignored his tale.
    Then the storms came.
    For me, it was a lesson learned, but more than that it reminded me of the fact that in Minnesota winter is not over until the good Lord says it is.
    I was also reminded of the power of a winter storm even in April this past Friday.
    It started one week ago today when I was sitting in Steve Collins’ office in the courthouse.
    As we talked his cell phone rang. It was a message from the local school.
    The storm meant school was going to be getting out early.
    So, being one who is growing more cautious with each passing season, I opted to take that same advice and head home.
    The weather certainly looked ominous all day, but I was prepared to get some work done in order to ensure I would meet the Friday deadline.
    Believing I had ample time to accomplish my tasks, I put them off for a while.
    Then, as I started to buckle down and get to work, the power went out – just for a moment.
    Then it happened again – only for a minute or two
    I quickly got to work when the power was restored, finished a couple of things and then the power went out long term.
    I had a bit of battery life left and opted to finish what I could believing it would be restored, so I could just get up early in the morning and get more accomplished before having to head into town.
    I got up at 3:30 as my better half had set the alarm on her cell phone – just in case.
    The power was still off.
    I was in a quandary.
    Should I wait to see if it would come back, or do I get in the Oldsmobile and venture out into the unknown?
    I waited a while, watching the highway to see if any cars went by determining based on the speed of traffic I would be OK.
    Boy was I wrong.
    After busting through dozens of drifts on my way in that morning, believing full well there were times when the Oldsmobile had gone airborne, I figured I had made it. Then I came upon a drift I had not expected, and as you might guess I got stuck.
    Page 2 of 3 - Just a few miles west of town I was hung up right in the middle of the roadway. Not having a cell phone of my own (ironically I got stuck right next to the telephone tower outside of town but had no way to communicate with anyone), I got out of my vehicle and walked about three-fourths of a mile to the closest farm place.
    I practiced the line I would use as I rang the doorbell apologizing for waking them, but as I walked into the yard I saw someone out in the yard. He did not see me at first, but as I got closer he recognized me. I told him of my plight, and he invited me in the house.
    The first thing I did was call the sheriff’s department to let them know my car was posing a bit of a hazard, as I was stuck just about in the middle of the road.
    After getting the “you should not have been on the road” speech, he told me no one was going to be coming.
    Thankfully, that very friendly farmer said he would take his son’s pickup out to see if he could help.
    As we arrived and got the chain set up to pull me out, I noticed flashing lights to the east.
    Soon after a state snowplow was on the scene.
    To help move things along the snowplow began moving snow in the westbound lane, but the driver had to stop and readjust the blade to get past my car.
    As he inched along the snow began to pile up, and before I knew it he had stopped. That’s right. My newest Minnesota winter weather claim to fame is I got a huge, orange snowplow stuck.
    As the farmer and I approached the plow driver, I began getting my apology ready. I offered my heartfelt “I am so sorry” to the driver who said another bigger piece of equipment was on the way. As he had cleared about one lane, that friendly farmer hooked up the Oldsmobile and tried to get me out. The ice on the roadway prevented the move.
    To make this epic story a bit shorter, the farmer went to get his tractor, and I am happy to say that easily pulled my car from its spot.
    I then thanked him profusely and was on my way.
    For the rest of the day any time I hit a bump snow fell out from underneath my car, and by the time I headed for home at the end of the day those same roads were nearly clear.
    The power was not restored until that afternoon.
    Page 3 of 3 - I know I made several mistakes along the way, but I can say I did call 511 before heading out. I know I likely should not have ever gotten out of my car, but it was a pretty clear day.
    Thankfully I had put my coat in the car and had a shovel along, too. Thanks to everyone who made my winter ordeal more bearable. I truly appreciated your help.
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