Winter Lessons That Last

Nebraska (and much of the Midwest) is still digging out from near-record snow this past weekend. As I write this from Atlanta, I’m a bit homesick because I grew up experiencing these thrilling blizzards and having fond memories of playing in the snow. Does anyone else remember when the city used to flood and freeze the local ball diamonds so everyone could skate there instead of on the ponds?

As a teenager, we used to get all made up and pile our girlfriends in a car and drive around town getting stuck. Why? Because the cute teen boys were driving around town to get the girls unstuck. Omaha has a long history of cruising that is not deterred by a little, or a lot, of snow.

My husband did not believe me about the Omaha cruising tradition until he saw for himself the signs posted along the main thoroughfare of Dodge Street that say no cruising between the hours of x andy.

Snow provided me my earliest opportunities to make money. When the snow started, I was out knocking on doors to make money shoveling snow. This is way before every house had a snowblower. As I got older, I had my regular neighborhood snow shoveling route that I was responsible for. Plus, we always shoveled the driveways and sidewalks for our older neighbors. That was just a given and lending that type of helping hand is just what you do where I grew up.

That lesson came back to me in waves a few year’s back when I was at my Mother’s house and I saw first hand how the neighbors would race each other to get my Mom’s drive and walkway cleared off after every snowfall. And every morning the newspaper was moved from the foot of the driveway to her doorstep so she did not have to go outside to get it. She had the absolute best neighbors!

People in the South often ask me how I could live where it was cold and had so much snow. Other than the obvious, that’s where I was born, I think being a Prairie girl made me tough. Weather is just weather and it does not usually stop you from doing what you want to do, you just have to plan a bit more, warm up the car, and give yourself extra time, but it doesn’t shut you down or put you in a bad mood.

You also learn from a very young age to be very prepared. As I got in my truck yesterday to drive to work, I tossed my gym bag in the back and glanced at the winter emergency kit that I still, yes even in Georgia, put in my car every Winter. If you’re a Nebraska girl, you know it includes the usual: winter clothes, good walking boots, water, and some power bars. You never know when you might need to walk home.

Watching friends and family deal with this winter weather reinforces my belief that you can take the girl out of Nebraska but you can’t really ever take Nebraska out of the girl! Stay warm out there!


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