Now is the winter of our discontent

The title of this article comes with apologies to Shakespeare, or whoever wrote all the plays and sonnets we attribute to him. I have another “inconvenient truth” for Al Gore: The polar ice caps are not melting. They have moved to Virginia.

Out of Brady's Attic: the author's father, left, was with the state Highway Department for 50 years in Rappahannock County.

The fact is I normally like snow. I have always been a, “bring it on,” kind of guy, with a four-wheel-drive and a wood stove and a stocked freezer and a little generator. Now, truth be told, I have never quite experienced this much snow, and I may have to revert to one of the things my mother used to tell me: Son, too much of a good thing, is still too much. Hmmm . . .

Until I climbed up on the flat part of the cabin roof and shoveled off about three feet of this heavy, white stuff, I was doing pretty well. My bride handled most of the shovel clean-up chores and I drove the tractor. Yes, that was a good deal for me, but I couldn’t see putting her up on a snow-covered roof, so I did it. Now, I am paying for it. But, hopefully, this, too, shall pass.

When you are retired, much of your TV viewing is either the news or the weather channel. Now, I’m afraid to turn the darn thing on for fear of what is coming next. So, I have decided to just watch old cowboy movies and let it surprise me. But, I will keep the tractor full of diesel fuel, and a stack of wood in the basement.

Last spring I sold a small RV that we weren’t using very much, and I bought a little John Deere tractor, with a loader and a scraper blade. It turns out to be one of my better purchases. Do you know how popular you become when you have a tractor and there is a big snow? I have friends all over this town. Actually, it is pretty neat. I have been well blessed, and this gives me a good opportunity to do something for somebody else.

About the worst thing we have had to deal with has been the loss of power. We haven’t had ours go off, but a lot of people have, and those with no other source of heat are left in a real bind. It is bad enough to be cold, and have no water and lights, but it gets ugly when your water pipes freeze and burst.

The night of the big storm the temperature was forecast for a low of six degrees. My daughter’s power went off that day, and they have no fireplace, no wood stove and no heater of any kind.

My good friend, Robert Day, loaned me his propane heater and I was able to get that to them to keep the water from freezing.

Let me tell you, the ride down 522 from Sperryville to Culpeper was a real adventure. It looked about what I would guess the Oregon Trail must have looked like in winter. The roads were passable, but barely, and with black ice and trees down in the road, I was glad I had my chainsaw, though I didn’t have to use it.

Punxsutawney Phil did predict that we would have six more weeks of winter weather. But, it looks to me like somebody should be held accountable for this mess, and even though I haven’t seriously hunted groundhogs for a long time, I think I will get out the old varmint rifle and clean it up, just in case.

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Richard Brady
About Richard Brady 126 Articles
Richard Brady was born and raised within sight of Rappahannock Peak, as was his father, grandfather, great-grandfather, great-great-grandfather, etc. He graduated from George Mason University and was employed for 35 years with various agencies of the federal government. He retired in 2001, and he and his wife, Linda, live in Flint Hill, Va.