Growing up on a Small Farm near a Small Town
That winter, the winter of '15-'16, we had over 50" of snow in Sioux Falls. And I know, I know, it's only March, don't count your snowfall totals before they're hatched. There could well be more.
In an 'average' winter we get 40-something inches of snow over a winter. So, regardless of what happens over the next month or so, we're above average.
But somewhere along the back roads of my memory, there's a sign that says 'Hey, it snowed a lot more in the old days'!
Now, memories tend to bend just a bit to the exaggerated side. That baseball I hit in little league might not have gone quite as far as I remember. That Bullhead I pulled out of Current Lake might not have been quite as big as I remember. That rootbeer float I had at the A&W in Luverne might not have been quite as delicious as I remember (but I think it was, pretty sure).
But truly, if memory serves correctly (no smart-aleck remarks, thank you), it snowed more in those days of yore. Now, I'll admit, could be just that living in a rickety farmhouse with an oil burner right there in the living room made things just seem a little snowier, a little colder. Maybe it didn't take as much snow to make it seem like a lot of snow!
So I decided to do some intensive, extensive scientific research. (Ok, Ok, 'intensive, extensive research for me means I 'Googled' it).
I remember sitting in the Leota cafe and the old boys on the stools around the counter were sayin' thing's like:
'A hundred inches. Must be a hundred inches.'
I remember riding with my Dad down our stretch of gravel road (it must have been ours, we were the only ones who lived on it) and it felt like we were driving through a tunnel. The snow piled up, up, up on either side of the car. And if we met someone on that gravel road, maybe Howard or Hank, Maybe Dewey or Nelson or Morris or Johnny, well...someone was backing up. This wasn't no two-lane!
In the warm corner of my memory it seems like it snowed every Thursday morning, we'd get out of school at noon...no school Friday, dig out over the weekend, and then the next Thursday morning it would snow and we'd do it all over again. Now, I know it couldn't have snowed every Thursday (could have it??), but hey, I don't argue with my memory. If it says it's so, it's so.
I can see him now, Dad out on the old Farmall with the loader, clearing out the yard, out around the hog house, chicken coop, grainery. I think the barn had burned down by then. As a kid I loved all the snow...now if it gets cloudy I get grouchy.
But was it all as I remembered, did we truly get more snow in those 'old days'. Well, let's you and I 'Google'.
And yes, it turns out it did, at least for one winter.
It was the winter of 1968-69. That would mean my older brother missed out on all the fun since in the fall of '68 he had gone off to the Air Force. Since we don't have a fancy-schmancy National Weather Service office in downtown Leota (but they could, maybe next to the Cafe?), I went with the stats from the Weather Service in Sioux Falls. After all, what's an hour or so between friends...and towns.
That's what they said. In the winter of '68-'69, Sioux falls officially received 94.7" of snow. Wow, it's true, we did get more snow in the old days, at least for those months.
Oh, and wait. We didn't need no National Weather Service office in Leota, nope. We already had one, sitting on those stools around that cafe counter drinkin' coffee.
'A hundred inches. Must be a hundred inches!'