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Former residents deal with Virginia snowfall

Front of the old farmhouse (Oakland in Botetourt) where the Lamberts live near Fincastle. Snow almost totally covered the large English Boxwood bushes along the driveway, foreground.

The long driveway leading to the house is completely covered with close to two feet of snow and is lined with sugar maples the length of the driveway.

Snow and ice suspended from the roof, ready to come tumbling down once it starts to melt a little with temperatures slightly above freezing Monday.

Born, reared and living in Mississippi most of your life means you didn’t (often) have to deal with snow days like the one presently being enjoyed (?) by Jim and Wilma Lambert, long time residents of Hazlehurst and now residents of near Fincastle, Va.

“The most I ever remember was about 6 to 8 inches, at least that is what my fading memory tells me, of the great snow of 1951 when I was a youngster near Natchez,” Lambert recalls.

Friday through Saturday night of this year the Lamberts were the recipients of between 18 and 20 inches of snow, blocking their driveway until late Sunday, when a good neighbor plowed from the road to the house so they could escape if necessary. The amount was the most snow to fall in that part of Virginia in about 15 years.

“It was a great weekend, but sometimes a little trying,” Lambert said, adding that wading through two feet of snow with drifts as much as three feet high can be work, particularly if you aren’t used to it.

As it turned out the Lamberts had the three granddaughters from Roanoke (Malissa Lambert Giles), Elizabeth, 10, Mary Grace, 8, and Rosie, 6, Friday through Sunday, and the girls had a great time playing in the snow, helping rake snow off the vehicles, snowball fights, making home made Christmas cards, and generally doing what they wanted with few if any restrictions. They, along with daughter Linda, home from working on her masters at Marshall University in Huntington, WVa, provided plenty of holiday activities

“You could say part of it was a learning experience,” Lambert said with a grin. “Like having 19 hungry horses and enough snow that the old two-wheel-drive tractor can’t get traction enough to plow through it carrying a bale of hay.” In fact, the tractor got stuck twice during attempts to put hay out, the last time far enough into the pasture that horses there could gather around and eat from the suspended bale. It warmed up enough Monday afternoon to get the tractor unstuck and back in the shed with the horses more or less satisfied with having at least something to chew on.

Wilma, who decided by late Sunday, that she was not too happy being snowbound, had settled down to doing things in the house, occasionally sticking her head out the door to check on the girls and make sure 800 pounds of snow had not fallen off the roof on one or more of them.

The three days of the weekend ended far quicker than you would think, with the girls loading into their parents’ vehicle late Sunday to return home and promoting the comment from Wilma that, you know, they can worry you to death when they are out here, and you seldom have a minute alone. But, when they are gone, there is a big hole and you really miss them. It’s sort of like the quiet after the storm.

In this case, the storm has passed, but the ice remains. It is melting ever so slowly and temperatures aren’t scheduled to get out of the 30s for at least a week. That means, for sure, we will be having a “White Christmas” along with more ice and sleet scheduled for Christmas Eve.

To our many friends and former neighbors in warm (relatively) and sunny Mississippi, may the holiday season be very special to each and every one of you.

In case you need snow advice, remember, I am now the “expert.” so to speak, Jim said. You bundle up, do what is absolutely necessary, then settle down inside and don’t go out again until it is gone. Ahhh, the advantages of retirement!

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