It was the late 1960’s and early 1970’s from which I summon the fondest memories of being homebound. If not totally homebound, at least no one was leaving town. It was 1969 when a local weatherman made a career impacting faux pas, altering reports coming from the National Weather Service by reporting his own opinion. What was understood, by his report, to be a mild to maybe moderate snowfall produced 12-foot drifts less than a mile from our home. Helping my dad feed the neighbors cattle required pushing through snow that was hip pocket deep on either of us. 

So, this previous weekend of January 11 & 12, 2020 was nothing compared to that, but did initiate the pre-emergency protocol of remaining indoors, avoiding any unnecessary driving, and cooking hot soups or chili. While the winter storm Isiah may have dealt a death punch to other parts of the nation, we watched the rain turn to sleet, the roads get slick, and otherwise produce a very undramatic show. None the less, we remained at home from mid-Friday afternoon until Monday morning.

During this incarceration, memories resurfaced from the previously mentioned time period during which a situation like this simply brought households together. I recalled the gathering of uncles, aunts, cousins and my maternal grandparents in my parents’ home. The preparation of meals which would be enjoyed after a full day of snowball fights or being pulled on a sled behind a pickup. We warn our children not to partake in this dangerous activity, but back then we nailed a couple of tall vertical standing 2x4’s to the front of the sled to stop us from sliding under the pickup. I’m not certain that these would have worked as they were never tested, but we survived that and so much more. 

When the day was stretched to it’s limit and exhaustion sat in, we retired to the house where we were greeted by an awesome feast. It may not have been anything fancy, but it was the best of food met by the most ravenous hunger. Hunger created by intense activity in what we felt were the coldest conditions. Conditions that had us putting plastic bread sacks over our socks and inside out boots in order to keep our feet dry. Plastic Wal-Mart bags were unheard of at that time.

I recall that it was on one of the occasions that I was introduced to boneless chicken breast. My parents had made some connection that had ties to a chicken processing plant to the southwest of home and they were able to purchase a case of these remarkable boneless items of luxury. I don’t know why I remember that, but some things just stick and stay in the archives.

After the meal the exuberance continued into the evening with someone breaking out the board games, Carrom board, Rook or Uno cards. This year winter came knocking and left a calling card. What I missed, though, was the gathering.

-Paul Richardson is the proprietor of In Sane Marketing Solutions. He also writes a weekly column, The Horse I Rode In On, for The Neosho Daily News and The Aurora Advertiser.