| It was up in the Panhandle of North Texas, in a little town named Perryton, and it was the Winter of '49 and the snow and cold had come in waves down from the North Pole. The old~timers sat around the kitchen table and said with a serious frown, "There ain't nothing 'tween here and the North Pole except one old barbed~wire fence and it's down most of the time!"|
When the latest of the storms rolled in on New Years Eve it was just what us kids wanted, more snow to add to the two feet already on the ground. The morning dawned crisp with the temperature hanging in around 16 degrees F. and a strong north wind driving the snow into drifts. My nephew Pat and I couldn't wait to get out into it. So right after breakfast Mom bundled us up in our "union suits" levi's, flannel shirts, coats, gloves and good old black rubber galoushes, you remember, the lever closure kind? Out the door we went, right into 6 foot snow drifts.....
It was all about "Sgt. Preston of the Yukon," "Mush You Huskeys," and snow ball fights; for two nine year old boys and a dog it was life at it's perfection. But with the cold north wind blowing play finally got around to building a wind~break as part of the action. "Igloo Time" Before long we had a tunnel burrowed out in the largest of the snow banks and had enlarged it to small room size. Although now comfortable out of the wind and seemingly warmer inside the tunnel it was not long before we tired of the dark under the snow.
But little boys are the father's of invention and not being up to stealing Dad's flashlight, how about some of Mother's candles? Inside the house I slipped, out quietly with a box of matches and three long candles, hey this would give not only enough light but some warmth too! Soon it was two boys, a dog and three blazing candles all buried beneith the snow. Life was great. Play took on a larger drama, now we became Eskimo hunters, and my dog "Chocolate" became a faithful lead sled dog.
Absorbed in fantasy we failed to notice that the packed snow was becoming soft and wet. Three candles in that closed space with the added body heat of two boys and a dog began to raise the temperature to sufficient levels to start softening the snow structure around us as we played along.
Thank God for angels who watch over young boys and old fools...... Mom just happen to look out the back window of the kitchen just in time to see the snow bank fall in on it's self and to see a dark brown dog's foot sticking up out of the snow. None the worse for wear, and a little warmer (especially on our bottom sides) we spent the afternoon inside listening to "The Lone Ranger" and "The Green Hornet" on radio after Dad and my older brother dug us out of the snow. So we survived the Winter of '49 and managed to come away from it with one more good memory to look back on with a smile fifty years later.