This past week’s weather brings back memories of the winter of 1978. The ample amount of snow and cold made it a record breaking winter—the kids had four days off of school. Larry ordered a sewing kit from Frostline to make his own sleeping bag and coats for the kids. Yes, Larry is the seamstress in the family. Construction of any sort is his forte. After constructing his sleeping bag, he wanted to test it out to see if it was really good for -20 degree temperatures as it claimed. So he built a snow cave in the front yard of our house on Rt. 31 in Crystal Lake, IL. We had so much snow the winter of 1978 that the kids could jump off the garage into large snow drifts. Our mailbox was decapitated by the snow plow — we just stuck the poleless mailbox in the drift and got our mail that way. The snow plowers were so far behind in getting to their customers that Larry had to cross-country ski groceries to our friends trapped in their home.
But Larry was made for winter. He relished in it and always grew a beard in the winter to keep his face warm. It didn’t take him long to build a prize-winning snow cave. He kissed me and our three kids good night and off he went into below 0 weather to test his new bag. Samson, our trusty St. Bernard, lay at the front door as a guard dog in case of an Eskimo invasion.
I was warm and comfortable under my blankets thanking my lucky stars that I didn’t have to join him in this experiment. By 5 AM I heard the door open and my 6′ 2″ husband now in the shape of a pretzel and frozen like a popsicle snuggled up to me and awakened me with frozen pea like toes on my warm toasty legs. He then said,” My knee was bothering me too much to stay out all night.” When adventure doesn’t come to you, make your own by winter camping in your front yard. You too can freeze almost to death and live to tell your grandchildren. Stay tuned in—there were other winter camping experiences that I did not escape.