Topeka Daily Capital
Feb. 24, 1960
I guess this is as good a time as any to tell my blizzard stories. I’ll warn you in advance. My conclusion will be that, shucks, this little dab of snow we’re having now is nothing. Let me tell you about Wyoming and Texas…
I was pretty young when we lived in Veteran, Wyoming, and I don’t remember too much about it. I remember that my dad had a general store – groceries, feed, seed, coal, hardware, clothing, drugs and sundries, post office and a hog pen and corral out back.
We lived in a one room house a few miles from town, and my dad also raised a few acres of sugar beets out there. This was a time when we swam in irrigation canals, killed snakes in the yard and graduated early from stick horses to real horses. They probably were the best years of all.
The blizzard came during the night. We woke up and couldn’t get out of our house. We were stuck there until a neighbor came and dug us out, and we finally walked out through a narrow passage and a drift as high as the roof.
That, son, was a real snow.
In Texas, of course, the snow is deeper, thicker, higher and even wider than it is anywhere else, so don’t ever confuse a little touch of this stuff in Kansas with a Texas snowstorm.
The climax of a football season in Texas comes after the regular season ends and the playoffs start. District champions start playing each other, and before long a state champion emerges. The Texas Way is the best way, of course, and it is no fault of mine that Kansas won’t buy it.
I was working in Borger, in the Panhandle, and covering the high school at Phillips, where Chesty Walker, now on the University of Washington staff under Jim Owens, was turning out some of the best high school teams I’ve ever seen.
We had a playoff game over in Pampa, about 30 miles east of Borger. It was snowing when we left Borger.
I had ridden over to the game with a couple of deputy sheriffs, but they were called out to work the highways in the snow before the game ended. So I started back home on the team bus, and the snow was getting serious.
We got halfway home on the regular highway, but were turned back. We backtracked to Pampa, then we tried to get through on another highway, through White Deer and Panhandle.
By the time we reached White Deer, the bus was filled with stranded motorists we had picked up, and we made White Deer only by pushing the bus most of the last couple of miles.
We found refuge in the showroom of a tractor dealer, who also handled Kaiser cars. We were there about 36 hours before we finally got out. We tried it twice before that, and had to turn back. And you call THIS a snow….?
I left the job at Borger for one at Odessa. I was to quit at Borger Saturday, and report at Odessa Monday morning. It started snowing Saturday night, but since I was in no position to remain long on nobody’s payroll, I started on Sunday.
It is about 300 miles from Borger to Odessa, and I made it in a little less than three days. The year was 1948. My car was a 1937 Pontiac. It never recovered fully from the trip….
These are harrowing tales, and I know I have chilled you to the marrow. And I skipped Oklahoma, too.
Now there’s a place where a snow storm really is a snow storm. Maybe someday I’ll tell you about the night I spent in a snowdrift near Skiatook.