January 8, 2005
Memories of ice storms past
The other day, when we were just beginning to experience some winter weather and icy rainfall, I was reminded of weather problems from another age. Think back to a point about forty or so years ago, and you will remember what it was like. Sure as clockwork, every year about Christmas time we would have a severe winter storm that shut down major highways and leave dozens of motorists stranded in the Perry area. Remember? Maybe it's a sign of global warming, as the environmentalists would have us to believe, but we haven't had a problem like that for many years. Our winters, for the most part, have been pleasant and mild.
But, if you remember those other days, you will undoubtedly recall the makeshift beds and hot meals we provided for weather-weary motorists who for the most part had never heard of Perry, Oklahoma, and did not know how hospitable we could be when strangers in our midst found themselves snowbound. There was, of course, no charge for any of those services, including the tow trucks that pulled unwary travelers and their cars out of snow-filled ditches alongside the highways. Usually, the ice, snow, freezing rain and other undesirable elements were melted away in just a day or so and the travelers were on their way again. Hopefully, they all had pleasant memories of this little prairie town. It gives me a glow just to recall how nice everyone here was to our unknown overnight guests.
I remember with pleasure how the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, the National Guard and other locally based entities worked together to provide aid and sustenance to those unfortunate families who were forced to stop here overnight. Virtually all of them were expecting fair weather here in the sun belt and few were prepared for the potential problems they were dealing with. As I recall those times, the people of this area were most helpful and hospitable in the face of bad weather problems encountered by our guests. The Journal usually received numerous "thank you" letters from those people after they safely reached their destinations. Without exception, they were grateful for the reception they received here.
All this gave Christmas-time a special meaning and it helped demonstrate that the spirit of the season really meant something to the good folks of north-central Oklahoma. Our guests would testify to that if called upon, I'm sure.