Clare County Review & Marion Press

Postcard from the Pines: Groundhog Wins Again

It’s only the 4th of February and already we’ve had Groundhog Day, occurring this year on the melodic 2-2-2022, a series of whopping storms, mostly missing us and some very cold arctic air that did not miss.
All of the various groundhogs who predict the weather sentenced us to six more weeks of winter. Who is surprised at that! We will just have to wait and see how upset the groundhog was. We might stand a better chance for an early spring if no one woke the semi-hibernating varmint and just let him slumber. A longer winter is quite the curse for disturbing a rodent’s sleep.
The groundhog almost always sees his shadow and we have the customary amount of winter, with things improving just about the time the calendar says it is spring. We haven’t had a real early spring and summer since the ‘90’s. These days, global warming and all, it is truly wise to be careful of what you wish.
It has been quite a while since we talked about snow in any good way, and I reckon that the only friendly words uttered for huge quantities of snowfall mostly come from children. It was so when I was a kiddo. We couldn’t wait to get out in the weather where a world of snow white possibilities awaited. There were endless things to do in the snow besides building snowmen and sledding.
On Blevins Street we became quite expert at the building of snow forts.That would be collectively, as well as in smaller factions. The families with the most strategic front yards spent all winter looking at the remnants of snowmen and snow forts in various states of melt or play. Maxine Jenema Cariano was known to lament that her front yard looked like an army constantly camped on it; not a square foot of snow was untouched. The Jenema front yard indeed looked like an encampment. Snow forts and various versions of igloos were very popular. Our neighborhood was populated by several serious boy scouts (three became Eagle Scouts).
There weren’t many occasions when big battles were fought, but they happened and were great fun until things began to go awry. And those things generally occurred in a specific order. Good fun could turn nasty between warring factions when someone hurled insults along with snowballs. Soon enough snowballs started showing up as ice balls, a huge treaty violation, and someone was hurt. It was inevitable. Battle de-escalated and came to a total halt and an abrupt evacuation of the forts. This happened almost as rapidly as the call to come home for lunch. We returned to battle another day.
As the younger Blevins Street Girls, Sue, Liz and I were but lowly recruits and privates on either side of the ever changing snow armies. In short, we were snowball makers and stockpilers. We did not complain, we were part of things.
I have to say that we, as in most of the kids on the street, did not play all together often. The Blevins Street Girls stuck to dolls, dress-ups and bicycles. The Scouting boys did their own outdoor thing. But, a few times a year we all turned out for some collective fun, things bigger than just us; a holiday with sparklers or a fine summer night and a game of hide and seek. I still vividly remember all of us standing on the Blevins and Grover Streets corner watching for Echo I, an early satellite, to pass overhead. It did and I am still amazed by passing satellites.
In the winter we liked big weather events, a huge snowstorm was always welcome. Huge as in heaps and piles and great drifts of snow, more than we often saw fall at once. School cancelling snow in epic proportions was the best and we made the most of it. Weather forecasting being what it was then, the snow often came as a surprise. There was little or no hype beforehand, no raised hopes. When we found all that lovely whiteness in the morning, we found pure joy. I often wish I could feel like that again about snow.
This week’s photo is of Maude Lewis who has been snapped while shoveling the snow from the walk at her home at Carland and Third Streets. This snowstorm happened to Marion, Michigan, sometime in the 1940’s

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