Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘pioneers’

There not being bureaucrats overseeing wagon trains, however did the people manage?

Read Full Post »

I don’t know about where you live, but in this part of Oregon the forecast suggests there might be lots of snow sometime in the next few days, enough snow that police have been trying to intercept elk hunters before they head into the hills, to warn them they might get snowed in if they aren’t careful.

People from outlying areas, especially those from higher up, have been swooping into town to stock up on groceries and other supplies. I’ll bet more than a few folks have been trying to dream up really good back-up plans for heating should the power go out.

But this is the American West. One thing about the hunters we tend to draw (most of our hunters drive in from elsewhere for the adventure) is that an uncommon number of them seem to appreciate anything that gives them the basis for a good tale to tell later. A snowstorm that gives them trouble but not permanent damage is likely to be thought a goodish sort of thing, or at least not entirely a bad thing.

A man who was proudly 80 years old was telling people at our bookstore-with-gas-station that he and his friends were heading out anyway, despite the prospect of more snow than we usually get in this part of the world. They had three elk permits, and a woodcutting permit, and even if they didn’t get elk, they were determined to get a truckload of firewood. They had enough food to last a while. Besides, he said, they had a snowmobile, so they could send out for help.

Considering that we have trained and experienced volunteers armed with snowmobiles who could go in and pick up stragglers, I guess that’s not too unreasonable, if you’re ready to deal with the snow, and don’t send for rescue if you don’t actually need it. Our rescuers include a few people who like stories to tell, too…

As for the residents, we’re a mixed lot around here. Some, as is the postmodern custom, will undoubtedly be whimpering that somebody ought to do something, and probably will shiver more from the supposed evidence of global warming than from the temperature (to many postmodernists, everything seems to point to global warming, and global warming is their bogeyman – and never mind that climates have fluctuated since pre-mankind, and all our ancestors somehow survived, including cavemen, for Pete’s sake… but I digress… On second thought, before I stop digressing, I would like to note that someone told me the other day that one of the local grade school teachers has been telling her class that ‘carbon dioxide from trees is good, but all other carbon dioxide is bad’. I am hoping that someday the children will learn that trees exude oxygen, and also that carbon dioxide doesn’t float about with certificates of origin attached, but pardon me if I quietly pound my head against a wall for a while.)

But, anyway, I’m proud to say that we still have our fair share of hearty stock. This is a part of the world where the early settlers tended to respond to deep snow by declaring time off from work and gathering for dances and fiddle fests, or holing up happily in cabins cut off from the world for a while. It is also a part of the world where one of the phrases of dismay is “we’re embarrassing our ancestors”. We like to at least try to hold our own with the past.

I am put in mind of an Ole and Lena joke: Ole and Lena were snowed in, twelve feet deep, up over the roof even. A week of this later, they hear a knock on the door. Ole opens the door to find that folks from the Red Cross have dug a tunnel to their house. “I gave at the office,” Ole says, as he closes the door in their faces. He turns to Lena. “I don’t know, Mama. I probably should have given them something, maybe? They must be really hard up to come out in weather like this.”

I love that joke.

I’m not entirely laughing at the prospect of a big storm, though. My husband is on supplemental oxygen, and if the power goes out we lose his oxygen concentrator. We have a back-up oxygen tank, but it wouldn’t last long. This is not to mention that all of our heating depends to some degree on electricity, since the oil stove won’t run without it (a serious design flaw, that). And I can look around and see neighbors who are every bit as much at the mercy of the electric supply as we are. And if somebody needs to go to the hospital, bad roads are not good. And so it goes.

Down here in our little t-shaped valley we usually get spared the snowfall that often blankets neighboring towns and the high country. I’m hoping we don’t have all that much snow and ice and cold to contend with. But I guess we’ll see…

Read Full Post »