Frost on brown grass Feb 19 2021

Frost in the morning sun, Feb 19, 2021, Custer County, Neb.

This column by Mona Weatherly was originally published in the Feb. 18, 2021 issue of the Custer County Chief.

If it hadn’t been for the extreme cold, these last few rounds of snow could have been fun. Had it not been for the cold, though, the snow may have held a lot more moisture, been more of a pain to clear away and made for icier and slicks roads. Oh, the silver lining of a 40 degree below zero cloud.

By publication day, the polar vortex is supposed to have moved on and we’ll be enjoying a heat wave into the 20s. Bring. It. On!

This snow reminds me of the winters of my youth. The snow was so high! We’d sled in the hills and we’d tunnel into drifts into the canyon. Now, I don’t know if the snow was deeper or the drifts any taller than they are now or if I’m just subject to that old “things in the memory are often bigger and better” phenomenon.

I remember layering on the clothing and Mom putting bread sacks inside the galoshes...yes, galoshes, the type with metal snap buckles... and out we kids would go.

Looking upon the snow covered hills this weekend, I thought about trying it. I quickly realized by the time I put on the requisite layers, I’d be so winded I couldn’t pull a sled across the yard, let along up a hill.

And the ride down! While exhilarating some decades ago, now my back and bones ache if I just think about some of those bumps we flew over way back when. I have no grandchildren to grab my hand and try to lead me outside so I can continue to appreciate the snow on the hill south of the house marred not by the sled tracks but by deer trails. Yet always there, in and under the snow, are the markers of memories.

I recently had the opportunity to tour Callaway Public Schools when I spent 8th - 12th grades. Memories came flooding back. While I may remember things about the school being “bigger,” I certainly can’t remember them as better. The renovations done there in the past few years fit in well with the 1974 building and there is a wonderful blend of old and new, Bears and Bobcats, maroon and gold and blue and silver.

After all these decades though, when I step into that gym, I still feel the pull to grab a basketball from a rack and shoot a couple free-throws. The distance between the line and the basket, however, is one of the few things that haven’t shrunk with time. It is perhaps a bigger chasm than ever. Some part of me eggs me on to take to the court, yet a wiser part of me knows Springsteen said it best. Those days are “glory days.”

I toured Callaway Schools as part of an interview for last week’s issue of Progress. Principal Heath Birkel was kind enough to indulge me with a walk-through. I also visited Superintendent Dr. Logan Lightfoot at Anselmo-Merna and Superintendent Darren Tobey at Broken Bow. In these days of shutdowns and restrictions, pandemic and vaccinations it’s great to see our local schools  doing what needs to be done to keep our students physically in the classroom.

It’s amazing to think that there are schools across the county that haven’t yet had students back in the classroom since last March. One may say, “Hey, it’s easier when you have only hundreds or just dozens of students rather than thousands.” Yes it may be, yet COVID-19 doesn’t care. It’ll come to a smaller school just as readily as a larger one if things are not done to stop it.

So kudos to our local schools. They are doing what they can to give our students opportunities for their own “glory days.”

There is no Progress with this week’s Chief (Feb. 18). It will return next week (Feb. 25) with “Business & Technology” and then again on March 4 with “Arts and Community.” I am excited to share the stories we have for you in these upcoming issues.

Wait...did I just say “March?”

Oh, yi-yi!

We’re just past the middle of February and are now looking squarely at March. Ash Wednesday was yesterday, Feb. 17. State wrestling is this weekend. Before you know it, it’s state basketball! Daylight Savings Time begins March 14.  Easter is April 4.

Yes, there is snow on the ground and temps well below zero but Spring, ever hopeful and ever eternal, is just around the corner and that is one heck of a silver lining!

Postscript:

Here’s a “Thank you” to those who work to keep us warm! Power crews, electrical workers, office support staff...together they manage the power needs of our area. The outages this week, both planned and unplanned, were not pleasant but thankfully shortlived. By late Tuesday morning, I’d been through two of them! Thank you, CPPD, city power workers and all electric workers for what you do!

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