What day was it? The 4th? 6th? A Tuesday? Thursday? Who cares? I don’t know. I was at Braum’s in Quah. In a long line of patrons buying last minute survival supplies as a blizzard was expected for overnight. I started chatting with an older Cherokee woman in line in front me. “Don’t worry,” she assured me,” The snow will hit the hills north of Tahlequah and bounce north…” As soon as this woman told me this I knew – we would get slammed with the mother of all snowstorms. I accepted my fate quietly and with mixed humor. Short of starvation or being forced to attend a weekend Unitarian ‘Tolerance Seminar” not much scares me.
And sure enough we got about 12 inches overnight. A lot of snow for eastern Oklahoma. I considered myself, officially – snowed in. I had a fair amount of wood that the fiddle player and I had cut on consecutive Wednesdays so that was not an immediate concern. But when the overnight lows are bouncing around -10 one can burn a lot of wood. To complicate matters the chainsaw was NOT GOING BACK TOGETHER. This was troublesome. I spent the last hours of light the day before the storm dragging deadfalls into the front yard and smashing them with a axe to make extra wood. Then I went to the coffeeshop in Quah. There I ran into the Keetowah girl and we quasi made up. I was (of course) thinking post snow rendevous but (of course) it took about 15 minutes for my bad manners to piss her off. (I was distracted by impending fate and take the blame for that one. Sorry hon.) Then I went to Braums….
Snowed in. Day one. I spent my time feeding wood into the stove, playing with the dogs and reading the ‘PreHospital Trauma Life Support’ manual and boring books about the downfall of the 3rd Reich. When I slept I did so in 3 hour intervals so I could keep the woodstove burning hot.
Day 2. I realized I had forgot one item – dog food. The dogs went on an emergency diet of summer sausage, wheat bread and cheese. They were happy about this until they realized I had only a limited supply. It became clear I was going to have to get out to town. I voted for going to Peggs for a number of reasons. (1.) I have never bought anything at the Moody’s store that was worth what I paid for it. And (2.) the road to Peggs is curvy but FLAT. and (3.) my semi-smart phone has no reception in Moody. I was off to Peggs….with all my gear….come a longs, logging chains, high lift, shovels, gore-tex, spare gloves. What I would encounter in Peggs I had no idea. So I took my only semi-automatic handgun – a Russian army surplus Tokarev TT produced at the Tula factory in 1944 in what must have been, “unpleasant circumstances.” I left the Tok in condition 3 and stashed it in my backpack. I stuck a spare clip in my vest pocket. (I tell you no lies, gunning down a handful of crazed detoxing Peggs residents is not even close to the top of my ‘worst-case scenarios’ list.) The road was bad but I’ve driven on worse. But that says more about my poor judgement that it does about the conditions. It was a nerve-wracking 40 min 8 mile drive. I turned out on SH82 and it was a sheet of ice/packed snow. The final 3 miles were the worst and scariest. I made it to Peggs and bought dog food and made phone calls. Masterpieces of human debris were straggling in wrapped in filthy Carhartt coveralls and sweat shirts and stocking caps. With blank desperate eyes they waddled into/out of the store. It reminded me of scenes out of some horror movie. The living dead rise and walk. Rather disappointed they were as apparently Peggs was SOLD OUT of cigarettes and beer. Those items being the least of my concerns I got the hell out of Peggs and went home.
The next day it snowed more. 5, 6 inches. The wood supply was running low….It was getting old fast but I am emotionally uninvolved with the weather conditions. (It’s the short days that make me depressed and filled with loathing. The days are long enough in early Feb I am fairly carefree.) With plenty of cereal, milk, thc, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and chili I was gaining weight by the pound as the snow piled up. The next day @ 8amish I calculated I had about 10 hours of wood remaining. I had taken a shy rick of wood over to my parents a few weeks before and with my chainsaw inoperable my only choice for heat was to drive over there and bring some back. 90 miles round trip for a pick up load of wood has got to set some record for squandering energy resources to gain energy resources. I made it there and back before dark.
Super Bowl Sunday – I went over to the fiddle player’s and scavenged wood we had cut earlier out of the deep snow. We watched the first half of the game but I found it to be a real snooze-fest and the temperature was plummeting. At half time I left and crept down the meandering driveway, out on the road and back to my house. They were saying more snow was expected. I had perhaps a day of respite then it started snowing again….The next morning I measured 15 inches in my front yard. Another two days of snowed in. I was becoming comfortable with my isolation and inability to communicate. Eventually it thawed and began to melt. Freed from my personal Siberia I picked up where I left off in matters great and small.