February 3, 2011

Blizzards have gotten so much better

Hey Blog, I have to tell the story of a time long before you were born, before there were any blogs at all. The year was 1981, the place was Deer Creek Township, Iowa. Sound like the boonies? Well, this photo shows you where that is, Blog, and it was the Boonies with a capital B.

Just how boony was it? Well, here’s the view I saw of the road there, when I went to get the mail.

But I want to tell you about a time when it was almost impossible to get the mail, because it had snowed. And snowed, and snowed. The winter of 1981, my first winter as a pastor’s wife, was a time of blizzards. Blizzards that made our tiny parsonage howl from the wind, wind that knocked out our power for hours on end, cold hours that made us close off the bedrooms (on the north side) and drove the temp in those rooms below freezing. Blizzards that buried our house in drifts six feet high, which had to be tunneled through before I could get the mail.

There was a period when I didn’t see a living soul outside my family of three for ten days. But that was not the worst of it: the worst of it was, there was no Internet. My companions for that blizzard were the four channels on our TV. Yes, no cable, no VCR, Blog, but believe me, the worst of it was, there was no Internet. A person living in Deer Creek Township could have used the Internet every day of the year, but especially during the cold and lonely isolation of a blizzard.

Fast forward to the great blizzard of 2011, aka the Groundhog Day Snopacalypse. I will rush to say that it helped that the power stayed on, it helped to have cable TV and DVR and streaming Netflix. But more than anything, it helped to have the Internet. Sure, 60 mph winds howled around our house as if to take the roof off. Sure, we had snow piles reminiscent of the Alps. But the mood remained cheerful throughout…and why?

Because all during the storm and its clean up, I shared the experience with others. I watched videos and real time blogging on local news sites. I emailed with loved ones in various places. And most of all, I hung out on Facebook, where people I knew all over the country commiserated and reported and joked, and people I knew all over the world sympathized.

We kept abreast of each other’s locations. Even those without power updated via their smart phones. And everyone--including me, of course--posted photos and videos of their little slice of Winter Wondergeddon. Digging out a buried car wasn’t such a hardship when you could share it with friends and get their sympathy. Living in a world suddenly dominated by snow was kinda cool, since you could photograph it and impress friends living in Florida and California. For all of us, to one degree or other it was a pain, but we turned it into a party too.

My dad lives 15 miles away. We both knew we were fine and we didn’t feel cut off, because we could email and share links and photos and other cheery bits. Transfer the 2011 Blizzardathon to 1981 Iowa and we would hopefully have had the phone, intermittently.

So I say to the young folk out there, who can barely remember a world without texting and Skype and Twitter, be thankful for the Internet, especially in times of crisis. Sometimes it saves lives. Sometimes it spreads truth when cruel regimes want that truth stifled. And sometimes it simply makes hard times much, much happier.

Happy like our cat Cody was after Davie shoveled, and he could see out the patio doors again.

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