Joy Hampton

It started nicely enough. A short vacation provided by Mother Nature in the form of about 20 inches of snow.

First, I rearranged the furniture.

Then, the house looked so good with the new arrangement, I dusted, vacuumed and mopped.

It’s not that I’m normally a slob, but I’m very busy and would rather spend my free time going for a run or reading a book than cleaning house. So what if the dust is a little thick in places?

Not like you could plant a garden there or something… maybe a few sprouts were seen here and there, but for the most part it’s just a little house dust and a few million spider webs.

The dust and webs are gone now.

The more I cleaned, the more I noticed the dirt, and so I cleaned some more.

Inspired, I started hanging pictures I had meant to hang for years. I’m not talking about just finding an old nail hole and poking a nail or tack in the same spot regardless of how ridiculous the placing, like I usually do.

I plotted out decorative arrangements and got out hammer and nails and did it right.

Next, I got creative.

I made a curtain for the master bathroom, something I’d been putting off for at least a month. It hadn’t looked all that bad with the fabric draped across the window, or so I had told myself.

With the newly sewn curtain in place, I had to admit it looked good.

This being snowed in wasn’t so bad after all!

Look at all the things I was getting done.

I crocheted an “infinity scarf,” a circular version of the dozen or so scarves I already have, crocheted during previous cold weather days.

When I started eyeing the hot glue gun, I drew the line. I am not one of those “crafty types.”

It was time to move on to food.

It doesn’t snow every day in Oklahoma. I knew the perfect thing to do. I collected a large bowl of snow and made three versions of snow ice cream.

Eating all that snow made me cold, so I heated some stew and baked cornbread.

Ate cornbread with butter. Cornbread with jam. Cornbread with maple syrup.

Next, I marinated chicken.

Made waffles and froze them.

Wanted to bake cookies but ran out of eggs.

While I was whizzing about the house getting things done, the dog spent most of his time sleeping, and I realized being trapped inside so long was probably not good for his morale.

I would give him the attention he deserved but seldom received due to my busy schedule. I tried three different versions of dog brushes on him, accumulated over the years. He liked most of them except for the one that’s a vacuum attachment. THAT little experiment was not well received.

I was going to give him a bath, but he disappeared, proving my theory that canines have precognitive abilities.

Still, there was plenty to do with or without the dog.

I read until my eyes got tired. Watched TV. Did yoga.

Called friends. Answered email.

Responded to three Facebook messages and deleted hundreds of unread messages accumulated over the past few months.

Read crochet patterns on the internet.

Periodically cleared snow from the front porch so I would be able to get the door open.

When the dog re-emerged from hiding, I tried to teach him a new trick.

Note: pit bulls do NOT retrieve.

Cleaned up shredded tennis balls from failed dog lesson experiment.

Took a nap.

After the sun came out, I cleaned the snow from my car then took a walk.

Within one block, my fingers were throbbing painfully despite gloves.

Returned home.

Wanted to scream.

OK. So what do you do after people with large pickups and backhoes have dug themselves out and you and the Ford Focus that normally looks so cute driving down the road with you in it is still stuck in the driveway?

By the end of the second day inside, I was going snow crazy. It was OK as long as everyone else was trapped too, but all those big pickups that I complain about because they take up a space and a half in the parking lots around the county were out and about, and I was still trapped to walking distance in 15 degree weather and no snow shoes.

It’s not that I can’t find something to do.

The power stayed on this year, and there are always books to read, television and movies to watch, and friends to call on the phone or to email.

I got restless because other people were getting out, and I was still trapped.

During that brief walk with the sun glaring off the pristine snow, I loved being outside. I realized I missed being out and about. I missed taking long runs through the countryside.

Most of all, I missed mobility and freedom of movement.

I grew up reading Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books about life in the days before statehood. In her day, a good snow storm like this kept people isolated in ways we can’t comprehend in these modern times of cell phones, internet and television.

But when the mail and newspapers grind to a halt under the onslaught of 20 inches of snow and ice, it’s a pretty big deal in the Sooner state, cell phones and television or not.


Eventually, the sun will come out and the snow will melt, and I’ll be wishing I had an excuse to stay home and read a good book.

Besides, I have a plan to get that 70 pound pit bull of mine into the bathtub whether he likes it or not. I saw this thing on TV where a girl used pulleys and leverage to escape from an abandoned mine…

After all, what else is there left to do?

I’ve always loved a challenge.

“Here, Scout. Come ‘ere, boy! Wanna play?”

Joy Hampton is a reporter for the Claremore Daily Progress. Contact her at 

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