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Column: Worthington snow day brings back youthful memories

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columns Worthington, 56187
Worthington Minnesota 300 11th Street / P.O. Box 639 56187

WORTHINGTON -- The parking lot was filled with high school students clearing snow off their cars while their engines growled angrily at the cold wind. The time was 1:15 p.m. on Jan. 6, 2010. School had been dismissed for the day. The wind was picking up, so without a doubt there would be no school tomorrow.

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This will end up being a quiet day, an inside day, with time to reminisce. A time to remember when I was that age in high school.

Some things never change through the years, like teens being able to sleep in on a snow day. Sleeping in is a major pleasure for most humans as well as the earth, with her coverlet of angel-white ice crystals.

A morning such as this would bring the sound of my dad knocking on my bedroom door. The next thing I knew, he would shake the covers by my big toe. "Come on, get dressed, we're going out to see how many times we can get stuck in the snow!"

Off with the covers and on with my brown, quilted ski pants and brown, fur-trimmed zipper overshoes. By adding an orange stocking cap with a red, white and blue scarf, to my navy pea coat, it made me a sight to scare any snow drift into fluff.

Dad was ready to go and wearing his heavy, all-wool Alaskan sweater. The white cuffs of his long johns were neatly hidden under his four-buckle rubber overshoes.

Dad had the '46 Olds loaded with his winter survival equipment: snow shovel (no water); tire chains (no food); pail of sand (no candies); old gunny sacks (no matches); old door mats (no blankets); and small boards (no plastic sacks).

There were not many people out and about yet, so off we went into wild blue yonder. Dad was a great driver, quick and alert, but when it was safe he loved to go fast. That was the whole idea when busting through the small, white, finger drifts. Pow! Pow! Pow! We would glance at each other and laugh with gusto.

We had fun getting stuck, but now I realize he probably picked a relatively safe spot. He was smart enough not to venture too far from home. We would take a few side roads here and there and soon -- oh yeah, we're stuck! His pale blue eyes would twinkle with joy.

Immediately, Dad was out of the car giving orders. The first command was: "Get behind the wheel!" "Straighten the front wheels!" "Shift reverse-shift forward!" "Back and forth!" "Rock it, rock it, rock it!" No use -- we were stuck.

Now it was time for survival equipment. Shovel (a lot), sand (some), gunny sacks (two). Then Dad would push while I gunned it. The sand, sacks and snow would fly. We would fly -- and then we'd be out.

Good, I thought, as I had not undreamed this venture to be so hard. However, hard had rewards, such as time for coffee.

The Cashtown Café was loaded with the local color of rugged men boasting about snow stories. While we sat smugly sipping hot java, we smiled because we got stuck on purpose.

Well, Dad, here I am on Feb. 8, 2010, stuck! Yes sir, hung up at the end of our driveway. All I can say is that the city plows have a special gift in knowing exactly when your driveway has just been cleared.

Yes, Dad, I tried rocking it with the wheels straight. No luck.

Nancy Zuehlke is a Worthington resident.

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