It was early winter in
and I was four years old. Idaho
|Similar winter weather a few years earlier. In this photo I am the baby in my mother’s arms.|
The winter had been snowy but the plows were still able to keep a way open for travel to the farms in our community. Then in late February a storm hit that clogged the roads, followed by an ice storm. Not even bull dozers could break a trail.
Mom was working alone to maintain the farm, milk our two cows and care for my brother and me because Dad had taken on a winter job in Pocatello, around a hundred miles to the east. He came home on the Union Pacific train when he could get away on weekends.
After two weeks of isolation Dad came from the train crossing on skis to get us.
|Not the same toboggan and not my mom, but you get the idea.|
He also brought a toboggan and snowshoes. The next morning I was packed on the toboggan with our luggage. Mom put on the skis which she had only worn once before. The snow was so crusty my seven year old brother was able to walk on top of the drifts.
Our journey was shortened to two and a half miles because we were able to travel across fields and pastures with occasional pauses to go over or through the wire fences across our path.
The plan was to meet the east bound passenger trail as it slowed to pick up mail in our small town. Dad had flagged the train down before since that was his way of getting back and forth to work.
I don’t remember much of the trek except for the part where I had to go potty really bad. Plus, even though I was snuggled down between our packages on the toboggan I became so cold I must have really set up a protest.
Of course my parents didn’t want us to miss the train since there was no station to wait in and probably not another one coming until the next day. So we stopped at a neighbor’s farm on the hill above the tracks while Dad and my brother hurried ahead to flag down our ride. I remember relieving myself in the chamber pot our neighbors kept under their bed. Then my boots and gloves were removed and my feet and hands were warmed in a basin of water.
I clearly recall being terrified of the titanic black steam engine hissing and panting on the tracks and how Dad helped load our toboggan in the baggage car.
|A gentleman who looks very much the way I remember my new friend|
There was a friendly conductor who offered me a chocolate peppermint candy. I also remember how pleased Mom was that I politely accepted it and how she praised me later as we settled down in our seats in the passenger car knowing I really didn’t care for peppermint.
|Me with my brother the following summer.|
I specifically requested Santa to bring that cowboy hat.