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Spring to STAY?

April 5, 2010 - Mike Donahey

Spring officially started March 20 or 21 depending on the calendar one has.
That was more than two weeks ago.
Since then, most of our weather has been spring like.
We’ve even had some days with temperatures in the mid to upper 80’s.
Some folks have taken to wearing shorts, sandals and flip-flops most of the time.
On the down side, I believe we’ve had a few inches of snow which didn’t last long.
The weather has been good enough for people, like me, to rake up some of the leaves which were left-over from last fall.
I’ve seen a number of garage sales in our neighborhood as well.
But do garage sales, sandals and shorts mean it’s actually spring to STAY? Meaning, no more snow storms or freezing rain?

Iowans and our neighbors in the Upper Midwest, know calendar announcements and the weather coinciding are entirely different.
We’ve had snowstorms, some even severe, in April. In fact, one of the worst snow storms to hit the state happened April 8-10, 1973.
The Blizzard of ‘73, it came to be called, according to And it wasn’t the soft-serve treat either.
I know. I was a student at the University of Iowa, in Iowa City then. It was so bad campus was closed. U of I officials had rarely closed campus for weather before. Iowa City received 14.3” according to Iowa State Climatoligist Harry Hillaker. Cedar Rapids received 14.5" and Dubuque 19.2."
The snow was heavy and slushy, almost like wet cement.
I would estimate any number of people in the storm’s path had put away their boots, gloves, snow shovels, salt or sand before that storm hit and wish they had not.
I didn’t have a car then, so I walked wherever I needed to go those three days.
About two years later, shortly after graduating, I entered the ranks of car owners again. I bought a 1967 Mercury Monterey. It had a huge trunk. Big enough to live in almost.
Over the years I followed the advice of my late mother-in-law and kept sand or cat litter along with a shovel in the trunk. Those items helped me dig my way out of drifts and piles many, many times.
But there comes a time to make a decision.
And I made a major one Sunday.
I took out the shovel, cat litter and 50 pound bag of cement mix used to prevent fish-tailing out of our car for the “winter.”
Does that mean spring is here to STAY?
I hope so.
Regardless, I’ll keep my snow shovel, sand and gloves handy, just in case.


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