Saturday, March 28, 2009

Saturday Morning, March 28th

Sometime in the middle of the night (must have been the wee hours of Friday morning) I woke to one of those eerie sounds you could never get used to. At first I thought an animal was dying just outside my window. But it sounded closer, like it might be coming from inside the house.

My next thought was that Michele must have gotten sick in the night (gross, I know, but that's what I thought). I reached over to find that she was in bed, sleeping peacefully. So what could that sound be?

After another minute or two, I finally realized that I was hearing an incredible howling wind.

By the time the sun rose on Friday, hardly any snow had fallen in Amarillo. But the TV weathermen were saying, "Just wait." As they predicted, it snowed without a break all day on Friday. Interstate 40 west of Amarillo was closed; so were the state highways going north out of the city.

Sometime that morning, Michele made potato soup and put it in the slow cooker. Around 6 that evening, with a little cheese and bacon bits on top, that soup turned out to be the perfect supper.

Before we ate it, though, we took a walk through the winter wonderland. It wasn't entirely by choice. We knew that all the local schools would be closed on Friday, and my step-daughter, Aubrey, had spent the night a friend's house about a half mile away.

We couldn't drive over to pick her up because our three cats, none of whom I like that much, were holed up in the garage. If we opened the garage door, they'd "run out and freeze" (Michele's words). So Michele and I walked the dog over to the friend's house with a sack full of warm clothes for Aubrey to change in to. Then we walked the dog and daughter back home.

As long as we were walking south, the first leg of the trip, it was merely miserable. By the time we made it to where Aubrey had spent the night, Michele, the dog, and I were frozen.

Once Aubrey had bundled up, we began the walk home, going north, straight into the wind, snow flakes hitting our faces like ice-cold pellets. The dog didn't seem to mind too much; the teenager in tow was not amused.

I coped by imagining I was a cold character in some Jack London novel. A little melodramatic, I know, but I've been doing that sort of thing since I was a kid and I'm not about to stop now.

Anyway, it's late Saturday morning now and that sound still hasn't stopped.

As you can probably tell from the photo above, Amarillo's Blizzard of '09 wasn't technically a blizzard. It didn't have the snow to qualify. But I think it had the wind.

Either way, the photo at the top doesn't really do justice to the amount of snow that fell. There are places where the drifts are two or three feet high. In other places, the snow is only an inch or two deep. I heard one of the local weathermen say that even they were having a hard time figuring out how much snow had fallen. There wasn't a spot where you could get a reading that hadn't been influenced by the wind.

Anyway, here's another photo facing north, away from the building. As you can see, the pay loaders have already cleared the parking lots at Amarillo College. Oh and that's my 1992 Ford Crown Vic, affectionately known as "Big Blue."


Leland V said...

I thought you had spent some time in New England.....This can't be too unusual for west Texas.

Frank Bellizzi said...


Right on both counts. :-)

Actually, I don't think we set a record in Amarillo for snowfall on that date. I think the record still stands at something like 20 inches (!)

It's just so strange because we were then "warming up" from a very mild winter where a lot of our afternoons were in the 60s. The trees here had popped and there's a lot of green grass. I've even mowed once this year.

Paula Harrington said...

This weather is crazy!

Dee Andrews said...

I was just out to Abilene 3 days after (Mar. 31) this big blizzard you guys had and the weather was warm, but VERY windy.

I picked up my 87 yr old mom & sister and the 3 of us - me driving - drove Mom's car back down here to south Mississippi on The Great Road Trip of 2009.

They stayed here a week and we had a BLAST!!

I'm writing all about the trip over at Finding Direction right down and posting lots of pictures to go with it. Just getting to the really fun stuff, although it was all wonderful.

I get a good many hits over there from your blog roll here, Frank. Checking in on the Texan in exile in Picayune, Miss. I guess!

Many blessings to you today!


P. S. Please pray for me because I've been suffering terribly with a pinched nerve in my left shoulder blade for a month now and have YET to get started on physical therapy and traction. Surviving on strong pain meds and lots of rest. I'm not up for very long each day.