I hear people talk about the snowstorm of 1978. I’ve seen pictures and it was pretty bad. We missed the storm because we were working for a ministry in Fort Worth, Texas, where we had moved the year before. During our first winter in sunny Texas, we had seventeen inches of snow, more than the state had seen in many years. I think God did it to say, “Welcome to Texas, ya’ll!”
Texans didn’t know anything about snow. Seventeen inches was way too much for anyone to be excited about. They didn’t have snowplows. They used sand on the roads because they didn’t have salt. If the weather people mentioned snow, the schools automatically closed.
We knew how to deal with snow and ice. Our house was on a little bit of a hill, and our two-car cement driveway was perfect for sledding. Since the stores didn’t have sleds or saucers, we used cookie sheets.
In January, 1979, I was in Peoria, Illinois for a ministry conference. On our last night of the conference a huge snowstorm paralyzed the city. We were stuck at the Peoria Hilton for two extra days. That was a big storm, but in my mind, nothing I have ever seen compares to the great snowstorm of 1967.
That wintery night began like any other with school kids hoping the TV weatherman was right. Jim Peyton said a huge snowstorm was moving into the state and we were about to be buried alive under feet, not inches, of snow. He finished his forecast by drawing another weather-watcher cartoon, as he did every night.
We went to bed and dreamed of having a snow day. The next morning, we got up without having to be told it was time to get ready for school. Somehow, we knew there would be no school.
From the bedroom windows upstairs, it was easy to see the neighborhood was buried, just like Mr. Peyton said it would be. No cars were moving, kids had not yet left their homes to venture into the snow.
There was an eerie glow in the living room downstairs. Except for a small area in the top corner, the huge front window was completely covered with snow. We couldn’t see out of either of the two windows on the side of the house. From the kitchen window we could see the backyard looked like mountains had formed overnight.
When we bundled up to go outside, getting the backdoor open was almost impossible. After a lot of pushing, we were able to open the door enough to squeeze out into solid white. The deep snow made moving around incredibly hard, but terribly fun.
The two wooden fences on the sides of our backyard were six feet tall. The drifts along the fences were so high it was possible to step over the fence into the neighbor’s yard. We knew the drifts would be great for tunnels.
Our two dogs were completely buried in their pen. We had to dig through the snow so they could climb out of their house. Just like us, it was almost impossible for them to move around in the yard.
On the side of the house, a huge drift completely covered the first-floor windows. My dad finally came outside and began digging the snow away to uncover the windows.
By the second day, everyone in our neighborhood was in the same condition. It was obvious we were not going anywhere for quite a while. We were hard at work digging tunnels through the drifts in the backyard when my dad said we were going to walk to the store. He asked the neighbors for grocery lists, and we pulled a toboggan to the A&P at Green Acres Shopping Center to retrieve the things they needed.
It was four days before a snowplow moved through our streets to allow everyone to get out. Huge piles of snow at the end of our driveway lasted well into the warm days of spring.
I don’t like cold weather. I face this every year, and I’m doing my best to see the best and not let the cold get to me. When I allow the cold to affect my attitude, that’s when it really gets cold. Even then, I think a huge snowstorm like the one in 1967 would be fun to experience again. I know, that’s crazy.