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From the Publisher's Desk – Two items deemed crucial for survival (Jan. 27, 2016)

Did you get there in time? Speed is crucial. If you wait too long, you miss out.
I’m talking about getting to the two most popular aisles in the grocery store – bread and milk. Is this a natural born instinct or something we are taught from birth?
I saw many amazing photos on Facebook during last week’s snow. There were also some disappointed people who arrived at the bread aisle to find it completely depleted. I even had one friend who posted a photo of a loaf of bread and a full gallon of milk. He was offering them up to the highest bidder. I’m not sure if he was going to deliver the goods or not.
It’s not that we will be snowed in for weeks or that we have to be stocked up on bread and milk during any other weather condition of the year. But, something about those two items brings a sense of peace, survival and a life sustaining security. Maybe it is something our mothers taught us.
I imagine our northern neighbors, who got slammed, would consider our snow a mild dusting. Out of all the places to live, I can’t imagine picking a place with worse winters. I see just enough of the white stuff around here to satisfy me. Moving any farther north and getting snowed in for weeks is just not an option for me, but someone has to occupy those states.
Regardless of how old you are, you have your story of the worst winter growing up. I do think winters were worse when I was a child but maybe height ratio has something to do with it. My only measuring techniques were my short legs and the amount of the back porch that was visible above snow level. If it rose above the top porch step, we were in trouble.
It seems one snow didn’t leave before another one fell. Snow on top of snow, on top of snow, on top of ice, seemed to be the layering sequence.
I have walked part of the way home due to my car getting stuck. I have been stuck without electricity and no way out for a week, kept refrigerated items outside because it was colder there than the house with the refrigerator off and have confined myself to a small basement with a kerosene heater.
Snowmen were just about impossible without the help of an adult. I must admit that I have made some ugly ones in the past. An dirty mess of rolled up snow, grass, twigs and other debris is not the ingredients Frosty was made of. However, that didn’t take away from the fun of trying.
I have brief scenes of childhood “frozen” in my mind. One such moment, is the sun finally shining on the sparkling snow after I had been housebound for days. As it reflected off the white surface, it was almost blinding and caused me to squint at first. The familiar world around me was seen in an entirely different manner. It was like coming out of hibernation to an alien world.
Later in life, things took on a more serious approach when I got a four-wheel-drive truck and had to maneuver the curvy roads of Spivey. There isn’t any way to train on how to drive in snow. You just have to get out there and experience it.
My first vehicle, a Ford truck, had the “locking hubs.” You had to actually get out of the vehicle, turn a dial on each of the front wheels, get back in the car and shift into a low or high capacity to be in four-wheel-drive. I found out that after the vehicle’s tires started to spin was not the time to be getting out to acquire the capability.
One such time I waited too late. When I got out to lock the hubs the truck started sliding backwards. I was grabbing for every rock and stick I could find to go behind the tires and keep the vehicle from sliding into the creek on our side road.
My uncle, who lived on the same road, would always like to challenge himself and see how far he could make it without four-wheel-drive. If he went in before me, it was sure that the tire ruts were going to be swerved from side to side and slick from spinning wheels.
I have turned completely around in the road on Spivey when ice was underneath. This was not intentional but possibly over compensating once the vehicle started to slide. Some kind of instinct kicks in and the hand and mind work frantically to make the best of a bad situation.
Where I live now I could walk to work if I had to and I am close enough to the grocery store to grab my milk and bread. I am grateful for all of our local road crews, emergency crews and sheriff’s department. They risk their lives for all of us to make things safer, rescue us when needed and look out for us in despair.
Winter isn’t easy on any of us, including our four-legged and farm animal friends. One of my friends heats up food for her chickens and has talked of knitting them sweaters. Now that is love and a great home to be in. I’m not asking you to go to that extreme, but do remember your pets. They depend on you.
As winter wraps around us all, let’s be mindful of others, check on each other and offer help. Soon we will be complaining about the heat. It’s just our nature to always want what we don’t have, like milk and bread.
And please, remember to bundle up and wear clean underwear when you go racing out to the grocery store. Things can happen as your mother warned you and you don’t want to show up in the ER that way.