weeks ago, as of the time of this writing, the east coast experienced
the “Blizzard of 2016.” The thought of that snow event had me
reminiscing about all the snow and snow events I've experienced
during my nearly 71 year lifetime. Growing up in northern New Jersey
during the last half of the 1940's through the middle of the 1960's,
then experiencing two years of frozen white snow and freezing cold
hell in Syracuse, New York should have been enough, one might think.
Thanks to my Uncle Sam and Vietnam, I was plucked from Syracuse and
sent to San Antonio, Texas for about 8 months during the next winter.
I was relocated to the”South” in the Mid-Atlantic region. It's
important to understand, those of us from northern New Jersey during
that time believed anything south of the Delaware Memorial Bridge
crossing from South Jersey into Delaware was “The South.” But, I
learned different when it came to the weather.
the folks started talking different as I came south and said things
like “all y'all” and “come back now, heah.” But, what I
didn't know was that the freezing cold and white fluffy stuff didn't
stop at the South Jersey border.
was moved to the DC area by the Air Force in 1970 at age 25 for three
years, but remained in that area for four years total. Then I moved
to the Chesapeake Bay and Annapolis, Maryland area from 1974 until
1984. In 1984 I moved to the Shenandoah Valley and the Winchester,
Virginia area where I lived until 2010 (officially, but I still use
this region as my unofficial base of operations until the current
day). I have experienced some ferocious winter snow events and
freezing temperatures in the “South.”
weeks photos are of my Mountain Home a couple miles west of the small
rural city of Winchester. I lived here from mid 1993 until the
beginning of 2003 except for about a year and a half when I left the
mountain during 1995 to 1996. The total area of the house was about
3,000 square feet and it sat on about 4.3 acres, almost all wooded,
as you can see, about 100 feet below the crest of the small mountain
on the western side. This is significant. This house, like everyplace
I've lived, holds some significant memories.
house itself was a very well constructed and warm bi-level ranch
style home. I basically lived on the upper floor. On the lower floor
was my son's room and my business offices. The entrance to the main
office was through the door next to the chimney. I had offices and a
recording studio/production suite down there. Significant, though,
were the snow events I experienced on the mountain. We had some
serious snow and ice events there.
This photo of the driveway doesn't nearly depict the steepness of the
incline to get up to the 180 degree dogleg at the top of what you can
see in the photo. This incline was so steep that inclines like this
on the open road cause trucks to labor to go up and always have
runaway truck ramps on the down side.
significance of being all wooded and on the western side of the
mountain is that during the winter, when the days are short and the
sun doesn't get very high in the southern sky (looking up the
driveway is looking south-southeast) the sun doesn't get high or warm
enough to melt the snow or ice. So, it was not uncommon to still have
significant snow and ice three weeks after Winchester's snow, in the
valley on the eastern side of the mountain, was completely gone.
a snow (and especially an ice) event, my snowplow guy and I were the
only two people who could get up the driveway. On many occasions, I
had to slide many friends' cars back down the driveway when they got
stuck part way up. Then I had to drive their cars to the parking area
at the top. I usually had to drive it back down for them when they
fractured my ankle at the bottom of the driveway at the beginning of
the incline during one ice event. My significant other, at the time,
got stuck right at the bottom and slid into the drainage ditch on the
left side going up. She couldn't even get out of the left side of her
car. I slipped, fell and went sliding under her car as I was
attempting to figure out how to get her out of that situation. I
won't tell you how painful it was to slide myself up that driveway on
my backside, pushing with one foot and pulling with my hands in the
eventually called a tow truck, with chains, of course, and he got her
car out. Meanwhile I couldn't drive and after the storm was over, I
couldn't get to a doctor for over two weeks. I'm not going to begin
to tell you about the road coming up the mountain that was equally
steep and had a serious S curve to negotiate. Let's just say, it was
as treacherous as my driveway.
were a lot of other things that happened at that house that I won't
go into. It was another of my dreams to live on a mountain with
beautiful views. While I completely loved the house and living there,
when I left, I left behind a significant number of “ghosts.” I
lived on that mountain, in two different houses, for about half my
total years living in the Winchester area. That's the longest I've
ever lived in any one house and especially in one “community” (in
the two houses) in my entire life.
how can you beat having a place with different views and different
dynamics for each of the four seasons? Live your dreams. I've been so
fortunate to live so many of mine.
free and be happy. EH