Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I was sitting here in the house freezing with the heat on and remembered the ice storm that hit in 1951.  I had left home and was working in Jackson.  My dad was in the Illinois Central Railroad hospital in New Orleans and I was concerned about my mother, who was up in the country alone when I heard on the radio that the storm was coming.  I caught a bus and went the 30 miles or so home to see about her.  And got caught in the storm.  There we were, two women alone in the country with no electricity and the roads blocked so that we could not get out.  We were stuck there for a week and that was a week to remember.  The butane in the tank even froze it was so cold.  We had a kerosene lamp and just in time I saw the flames going down into the kerosene and grabbed it and threw it as far as I could out the front door and it exploded in mid-air.  We watched as a chinaberry tree fell on the car and crushed the top of it in.  There was no mail service so we couldn't hear anything from Dad who was supposed to have surgery at the hospital in New Orleans.  And to top it all off, I had a pet banty hen.  She disappeared totally.  I searched everywhere, crawling under the house and looking all around for her until I finally gave up.  She was such a pet she would fly onto my shoulder and ride as I walked along.  I was sure she was dead.  We decided if we stayed there we would be dead too so we packed a suitcase and started walking to the store about a mile away to see if we could catch a ride to Yazoo City to stay with my aunt until the ice cleared some.  So we started out walking.  I had the suitcase, and my mother had a huge sack of something she didn't want to leave.  About halfway she told me she could go no further she was so cold.  I took the sack from her and told her to hold onto my belt and walk behind me and that no darn ice storm was going to kill me.  We managed to get to the store and there was a salesman there that we knew and he gave us a lift to my aunt's.  I will never forget the look on her face when she opened the door and saw two half frozen people standing there.  All of the railroad lines were down so we still could not have any contact with my dad.  Every day we walked a couple of miles to the depot to see if any messages could get through with no luck.  After about a week of this we finally gave up.  By then the weather was beginning to moderate some so we caught a ride back home only to find the other chinaberry tree had decided to fall on the other end of the car.  The mail finally started coming through and we had a post card from Dad.  He said it was getting a little cool in New Orleans.  Oh, almost forgot to tell you, my little chicken was scratching in the yard very happily looking for something to eat.  She flew onto my shoulder as usual just like nothing had happened. We hired a man to get the trees off the car.  A few days later Dad came home and got into the car to blow the horn to let us know he was home, looked up and saw the whole top caved in and almost had a heart attack.  Moral of this long writing--stay out of ice storms.