Idaho, Oh Idaho.

16 Nov

It’s winter in Idaho. At least it is in the southeastern section of the state where I live. Winter can begin anytime after October 1 here. Sometimes the snow stays, sometimes it melts, regroups and then blasts us with a mighty downfall that blankets the ground until May or June.

Last Friday and Saturday we received about 6 to 8 inches of snow. Beautiful, white fluffy flakes that immediately brought to mind a Norman Rockwell picture. So soft and white and sparkly. It lingered on the pine tree branches, dusted the wheat fields and created pillow soft lumps over our deck railing. Ah, winter.

Ah, winter.

Then the wind started up. Saturday night.

It blew hard all day Sunday and Monday.

Monday afternoon my husband and I went to pick up our daughters from school and take them to gymnastics. We decided to have dinner in town and then drive home. He led most of the eight miles out to our road in his plow truck. I followed closely in my Suburban. Four wheel drive is not a status symbol in Idaho, it’s a necessity.

The roads from town to our road were totally fine. A little drifty, but nothing to speak about. Then we got to our road. I’d noticed in the last few days that the wind had picked the beginning section of our road as a particular favorite. Like a brand new toy, it seemed to covet this section. Blowing hard. Gleefully piling up drifts after drifts.

My husband blasted through the first straight section with no problem. I followed the narrow – wide enough for a truck or SUV – path. There is a small hill before we get to our house. His truck began to fishtail around as he began the uphill. I followed the snakelike path as best I could.

I should mention that my husband just returned from a hunting trip to South Dakota earlier in the day. In all of his manly wisdom, he made certain that his truck – the non-plow truck – and my Suburban both received new sets of tires before he left. We did not have snow a week ago and he was entirely focused on his trip.

I reached the top of the hill and stopped. His plow-truck, with the bald tires, was parked at an angle halfway down the hill. Neither one of us had a shovel in the car and his tow-rope, the one that I bought him last year, was not in his plow-truck. I’m sure he had put it in his other truck for the trip.

After several back and forth rocking motions, his door opened and he got out. I watched him start to stomp down the snow in front of the truck. My 8 year old, who had driven with Dad, began to call me. My 6 year old began to ask a million questions about what Dad was doing.

Twenty minutes later, I had to leave the warmth of my vehicle, along with the 6 year old who refused to stay put, to bring back the 8 year old who was in tears. I believe they were tired of hearing me say “it’s all right” and “Daddy will get unstuck soon.” When they began to whimper pathetically and cry “we’re gonna die” in tones of great anguish, I called a friend to bring us a shovel.

Four minutes later my husband got the plow-truck unstuck, blasted his way through the two foot concrete drifts and I followed. We were free. I quickly called our friend to relay the good news. He had left his cell phone at home. We got home just in time to watch our friend come up and over the hill and . . . get stuck.

Our road, 2 years ago. A VERY long winter.

It’s going to be a long winter.

But good for scenes in a WIP. What lovely disasters have made it into your WIP?


Posted by on November 16, 2011 in Idaho


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16 responses to “Idaho, Oh Idaho.

  1. Liz Fredericks

    November 16, 2011 at 6:49 AM

    Oh Meredith, you made me laugh in sympathy. I can picture this and only imagine the wine I would select to recover fully. Let’s see, disasters . . . the American Falls dam break is in one I’m working on at the behest of my son . . . the rabbit invasion of the early 80s (great mounds of jackrabbits in the fields, on haystacks (they looked like ants swarming a sugar cube) is in a plotted someday kind of ms . . . the rattlesnake in the garage . . . then there are the human-made challenges . . . bank robberies, wildfires, abandoned dogs and feral cats. šŸ˜‰ Sometimes, I really l love Idaho for its rich diversity in disaster. šŸ˜‰

    • Meredith Conner

      November 16, 2011 at 7:08 AM

      It’s kind of amazing how many daily adventures in the west can fit so well in a WIP. Reality can be so much richer than fiction at times šŸ™‚

  2. Mary Vine

    November 16, 2011 at 7:05 AM

    Oh, my, goodness! New respect for you. My last book had an incident with a wood rat after he visited our fifth wheel. Actually, they are kinda cute with those white boots and furry tails.

    • Meredith Conner

      November 16, 2011 at 7:35 AM

      Funny! I listened to an agent in NY talk about encountering a flying cockroach for the first time. It made such an impact on her she said she’d read any book that started with one of those landing in a person’s hair.

  3. Janis McCurry

    November 16, 2011 at 7:15 AM

    Mer, you’re a stronger woman than I. I’m one of those “it can’t get too hot in the summer” types and cold gets me down. I love looking at the snow-covered hills, the operative word being “hills…far away” and not in my valley!

    One day, I’ll have to write about my cat who apparently thought she hit the jackpot when she brought in a huge mouse. The catch was she’d actually managed to wrestle a smallish gopher into the kitchen. I had a laundry basket in my hands and threw it down on the beastie, which the cat had proudly dropped on the floor, said beastie being really ticked off that it had been grabbed.

    Then, I went girly and called my husband to come dispatch beastie. The cat didn’t get why she wasn’t able to eat her kill.

  4. Meredith Conner

    November 16, 2011 at 7:38 AM

    LOL Janis! I managed to trap a baby mouse in a garbage can once. It had the cutest, softest looking eyes. I had to call my husband and tell him to get home quickly before I named the darn thing! Gophers though – they’re not cute.

  5. ramblingsfromtheleft

    November 16, 2011 at 9:11 AM

    Meredith, I can only imagine the beauty of Idaho in winter and a lover of snow capped mountains. In Brooklyn, later in Northern Manhattan we had the parks, the long hills leading to the river, the amazing hundreds of years old oak trees. In Inwood the ancient tulip trees, the cliffs that hug the shore of the Hudson river and who could live without those mountains of snow piled on each street corner by the sanitation snow plows. Ah, winter in NYC, record breaking snow storms and no school, streets become silent and serene and for a brief moment, we forget we live in a crowded metropolis and not a sparsely populated landscape. I love snow images, especially this time of year … thanks šŸ™‚

  6. Meredith Conner

    November 16, 2011 at 9:32 AM

    Oh – I’ll be happy to send more your way Florence! Winter lasts a good 9 months here and snow in June (and even July) is not uncommon!! Thanks for the “view” of NY!!

  7. Johanna Harness

    November 16, 2011 at 6:23 PM

    Mer–I’m shivering just reading your post! We have so many scary snow stories–and we don’t even live in the deep snow!

  8. Meredith Conner

    November 16, 2011 at 7:51 PM

    It amazes me, that in this day and age, how much of an impact weather can have on one’s life. I grew up in the city. This has been a whole new experience for me.

  9. Carley Ash

    November 16, 2011 at 9:32 PM

    I’m glad I’m not traveling through your area on my way to Bozeman anymore.

    • Meredith Conner

      November 17, 2011 at 9:40 AM

      I hear you!

  10. Lynn Mapp

    November 16, 2011 at 10:14 PM

    Meredith, you’ve got to love the winter months. It would make a great scene. How are you going to fit this into a book?

    • Meredith Conner

      November 17, 2011 at 9:40 AM

      Not sure yet, but I will šŸ™‚

  11. Clarissa Southwick

    November 17, 2011 at 8:01 AM

    Great story, Meredith. And so very different from our weather here in the valley. My kids are praying it will snow enough for sledding this year. Stay warm šŸ™‚

    • Meredith Conner

      November 17, 2011 at 9:41 AM

      We are into our 2nd winter storm of the year today. That’s 2 whole days in between storms. Wow.


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