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Country Discussion Topics
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Snow Days
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New-Gen    Posted 11-25-2004 at 16:28:06       [Reply]  [No Email]
Like any other kid growing up in the midwest I always looked forward to snow storms. It was the only time kids would be caught dead voluntarily listening to the "uncool" local radio station, hanging on every word of the announcer as he read the up to the minute weather report, followed by the school closing announcements. We held our breath and crossed our fingers as we listened, hoping that our school would be among the closed.

To me a "snow day" had a special meaning. To supplement the farm income my dad drove a snowplow for the township, and the road commisioner was kind enough to allow him to take me along! The truck was a late 50's International R-190 Tandem with about a 14' dump box and a V-plow which in my estimation was capable or re-arranging the Rocky mountains.It was known throughout the area as "The Old Binder" {a rather generic nickname for International trucks}. The fleet also included two other tandems, a GMC and a Louiseville Ford. They were both nice trucks but lacked the charisma of the Old Binder. They were both equipped with side plows. On the more heavily drifted roads The Binder, brandishing its V-plow was the lead truck, breaking through with one of the others following behind widening the path. Then asThe Binder broke through the next road, one side plow truck turned around and widened out the other side, while the other one followed The Binder, repeating the procedure until all the roads in the township were cleared. The three men worked well together, they always managed to get the roads cleaned in a timely manner with minumal damage to mailboxes and to my knowlege never ran into each other!

To a young boy with a love for anything on wheels it was the ultimate way to spend a snow day. I can remember like yesterday looking out over that big red hood watching the snow fly as the plow bit into a hard drift, Dad grabbing gears as 450 cubic inches of 6 cylinder IH engine technology thundered in protest. The hood, fenders and cab vibrated violently as those six cylinders propelled the truck by way of eight chain equipped mud grips glued to the road by 13 tons of gravel in the box. How the drivetrain stood up to such abuse is beyond me! As we broke through the drift the engine relaxed, the cab and sheet metal settled down, the barely sufficient wipers cleared off the windshield and we rolled on easily to the next snowy conquest.

Normally by shortly after noon the roads were opened well enough for normal traffic. The rest of the day was spent opening up driveways. It was a small municipality in which everybody knew everybody else, so it was just considered a courtesy on the part of the road commisioner. He knew where the older people lived, as well as who was ill or expecting babies, and took care of them first. As a frequent passenger, I also soon learned which people showed their gratitude for this service by serving hot chocolate. It didn't take much persuasion to get me to jump out of the truck with a shovel to give those certain special people personalized service!!

Usually the next day school would reopen, and our mini-vacation would end. I always got the added bonus of being able to look out the school bus window with satisfaction at the job well done by my father, his boss and co-workers. I'm sure the other kids had probably drank as much hot chocolate as I had the day before, but somehow I was just sure mine tasted better!


Patria    Posted 11-26-2004 at 06:27:23       [Reply]  [No Email]
When I got married, for the first time ever:-(, I was 18 years old and moving from PR to Charleston,SC a couple of days before New Years Eve. It was cold enough for me in Charleston, and as the days went by it got colder. I had been wondering if it would snow so I asked my neighbor, Mr. Poindexter, he said it didn't snowed there. A couple of weeks later I woke up to the most beautiful scenery my eyes had ever seen..it was the first time that this Puerto Rican ever saw snow, but also for most Charlestonians, for it was snowing for the first time in 45 years. It was a storm, and everything had paralyzed. I remember hearing from some that they were not prepared. Prepared for what! I didn't even have a heavy coat! Just get your thermostat higher, and sit in front of the tv with a cup of hot chocolate for heavens sake!
But as I learned later people couldn't drive to their jobs, and the news were talking about the total caos[chaos?] that had taken over. Oh that seemed to be pretty bad for some people..but for me? an 18 year old kid was my dream come true. I look through the window and it seemed like all the kids in the world had gather in front of my apartment building to play with the snow. My husband wasn't impressed at all and forbid me to go out, said I could catch a cold. Oh too bad. yeah too bad he didn't want to join me to play in the snow. Sooooo... out he went to work..and out I went to play, and celebrate Charleston kid's snow day. weeeeeeeeeeee...!


Fern(Mi)    Posted 11-25-2004 at 20:13:57       [Reply]  [No Email]
Owned a K7 once upon a time. When I got it it wasn't much to look at. But it did what I wanted of it. Sold it when I was done with it. Still didn't look any better. Broke even, having getting more work/use out of it than its monies worth still making it a two or three year bargain.
Your descriptions had me driving it again if only from memory!
Hot dam.
Fernan


Chas in Me    Posted 11-25-2004 at 18:10:44       [Reply]  [No Email]
Great story. I envy you those rides. Our town had OshKosh trucks to break through the snow.


New-Gen    Posted 11-25-2004 at 18:30:56       [Reply]  [No Email]
You're enving me? Man, I'da give anything for a ride in one of those beasts!


TimV    Posted 11-25-2004 at 18:03:40       [Reply]  [No Email]
Great story, New-Gen; sure does bring back memories! When I was young I would listen to the stories of some old family friends that worked for the highway department and had to plow the roads on the Tug Hill here in NY. Snowfall on the Hill averages over 300 inches a year, and it's not uncommon to get it several feet at a time. Plowing shifts frequently were measured in days, with just enough time out of the cab to answer the call of nature. At the far end of their run, a couple of the local hotels would provide the guys with a "warm-up" for the ride back--usually a fifth of whatever whiskey they had overstocked. You couldn't get away with it now, but back then, they would "nip" their way through the bottle on the way back to the garage, then re-fuel and head back out again!


New-Gen    Posted 11-25-2004 at 18:32:50       [Reply]  [No Email]
Yep, I don't think the DOT would be too impressed these days!


deadcarp    Posted 11-25-2004 at 18:01:52       [Reply]  [No Email]
that's quite a story ng - the road grader cleared our roads and if you left a red flad at the roadside, he'd loop around your driveway or a haystack too. :)


New-Gen    Posted 11-25-2004 at 18:35:41       [Reply]  [No Email]
DC, from what I've seen of your winters, I don't think we could ever have anything that would hold a candle to what you guys go through!


Burrhead    Posted 11-25-2004 at 17:23:35       [Reply]  [No Email]
good memory. thanks New-Gen. Them R190s just barely had wipers and that 450 was a hoss in it's day.


New-Gen    Posted 11-25-2004 at 18:36:46       [Reply]  [No Email]
Around here they called the R-190 a "Poor man's Mack"


Burrhead    Posted 11-25-2004 at 19:08:59       [Reply]  [No Email]
LOL yeah we called them stalk cutters around here.

If ye had a R220 it had a 549 in it, man it was a large car I tell ye.

Them old R models did everything from pull a manure spreader to haul fresh poultry to Chicago.

I don't think today's *chicken haulers* could make many trips in them.


New-Gen    Posted 11-25-2004 at 19:38:36       [Reply]  [No Email]
Yeah, I don't think they were what you'd call "chicken hauler friendly"
Another name I've heard them called is "13 letter sh1t spreader"


Burrhead    Posted 11-25-2004 at 19:40:38       [Reply]  [No Email]
LMAO yep I heard that one too. 8^)


George in TX    Posted 11-25-2004 at 16:55:49       [Reply]  [No Email]
I'm sure your hot chocolate did taste better, seeing as how you'd earned it.

Another great story and I thank you for that. I try to never miss stories from you and Cindi if I can help it.

I hope you had a very relaxing, peaceful, and enjoyable Thanksgiving with lots of good food and good companionship.


New-Gen    Posted 11-25-2004 at 18:38:37       [Reply]  [No Email]
Thank you. Yeah that hot chocolate did taste pretty good!


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