In the bygone days, snow-packed roads were routine

THURMAN - With our biggest snowstorm occurring this year on Dec. 19, many gripes were called in this week - the complaints were mainly for the roads not being as bare as they are in July.

But some of us remember the bygone years - back when people didn't take for granted that the roads would be cleared at all.

My cousin's diary from childhood talks of the neighbors getting together and shoveling snow from the roadways by hand to allow horses to pass the roads.

Also, who can ever forget the memories of Adirondack Journal correspondent Edith Bills who shared her recollections of being taken to school- to the local one-room schoolhouse - on a sleigh gliding over the snow.

This wintertime routine included her huddling under layers of blankets in the horse-drawn sleigh in the early morning - the stars glistening above in the dark sky - her feet warmed by a large stone that had been heated in the driver's fireplace the night before.

Before those years in the mid-1900s, schoolchildren didn't even have those creature-comforts of warming their feet on a big rock in a sleigh during wintertime. They rode to the one-room schoolhouse, standing up and braving the cold - in a horse-drawn open-sided stake wagon! Just see the accompanying photograph, borrowed from the collection of local history buff and Adirondack Journal columnist Jean Hadden. Standing in front of the wagon is the driver, Lee Baker. He appears to be 12 to 14 years old.

And those roads that were plowed up through the mid-1900s, were cleared with horse-drawn plows, remember.

Forget computers, Facebook, push-button phones, typewriters, televisions and the newfangled cell phones. Life in Thurman during the early and mid-1900s - that was truly the era that evokes fond memories - when life was real and not "virtual."

Anyway, Dec. 19 this year when the complaints were called in, snow began coming down so hard that you could barely see things in your own yard. The highway crews were out working, but by the time one end of town was plowed, the other end had snow piled up. It snowed all through the night and was still coming down at 7 a.m. Since then, we've had several snowfalls. Now, we've got at least two feet of new snow so far this season.

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