This is our second snowfall of the season. It was wet and heavy and we really need it. This week I have been house sitting at my son, Will’s. He and his family are in Disney World. His wife, Kirsten, whom I adore and his youngest daughter, Victoria, are celebrating their birthdays. Shh… Kirsten is 50, so don’t mention it. Victoria is 14, and they are both having fun with middle sister, Mackenzie, who turned 15 in September. So while I faced a snowstorm of Alaskan proportions, they are in Florida.

When we came here in 1962 from Iowa, the weather was unbelievable. We spent our first Thanksgiving surrounded by roses. They were in bloom all over town and we thought we’d moved to paradise. Then it snowed. We were living on Morris right next to Colette Park School. My brother was nine and he walked to school wearing his coat but not snow pants—it wasn’t cold enough. There was a note on the door that said, “School cancelled because of snow.” So Arch walked back home, and our mother, Arlene said, “Why aren’t you in school?”

“They cancelled because of snow.”

“Nice try, get in the car.” Mom saw the note and called her uncle Don, who had moved here 30 years before we got here. When he quit laughing he told mom, “It’s because of the buses, there are only a few inches, but they can’t risk it.” We learned.

After high school and college, Arch joined the New Mexico Army National Guard. They had 24-ton Armored Vehicles. Soon after they got them, they were assigned to go to Minnesota to learn to drive in snow. An officer came to Arch and said, “Ramsden, how do you use galoshes?” Arch taught a class on putting the galoshes over combat boots, and that they were first used by the Army at the Battle of the Bulge. This teaching moment may have encouraged Arch to teach high school after his 20-year hitch in the Army. He also mentioned to me that Los Lunas, where he taught, cancelled school because of snow. Their rivals in sports, Belen did not and had 16 crashes in the parking lot! The Moriarty-Edgewood district has always been smart about closing for bad weather. When I taught at Estancia they were also wise in knowing when to call school off.

Earlier today, the television showed the freeway at I-40 looking like a bumper car party. Speed is the reason people crash. They don’t realize the danger with even an inch of snow and ice.

I am still pet- and house-sitting. My oldest granddaughter, Caitlin, a senior, stayed home to help and attended school online. We both tried to get the garbage cans out, and they won’t budge. Last night things went mad. The smoke alarm started beeping and wouldn’t stop. The dogs howled, the cats ran and tipped over a can of Coke on the floor next to the fireplace. I started chicken noodle soup and forgot it in the kitchen while I cleaned up the floor. It turned to mush. We had peanut butter and bread for supper. The dogs wouldn’t go out. It kept snowing and snowing and … s n o w i n g.

Thank God for good neighbors. Caitlin called Bryant Mangum from next door. He came to our rescue with a very tall ladder to reach the alarm, which was two stories up. When he arrived, he found it was instead the alarm right above our heads in the hall. I owe Bryant, and his wife, Nicole, a batch of home-made fudge. Fudge you can make when it is snowing. Even in New Mexico when it snows, chocolate makes everything better. Roaring Mouse, eating fudge. Out.

Jo White
Jo White

From 1966 to 1971, Jo attended the University of New Mexico and Memphis State University, earning degrees in Communications, English, Journalism, Speech and Drama with history minors. At UNM, her hero was Tony Hillerman. She taught high school and middle school in city, country, and private schools for 30 years. Roaring Mouse is in its 25 th year. She can be reached at jomouse@aol.com