Thursday, December 22, 2005

Walking In A Winter Wonderland

Earlier, I mentioned that I didn't agree with the idea that Winter begins with the solstice. Some thought I was just being cranky. Others said I didn't have any reason to complain about winter. And others thought about what qualifies as Winter.

Some of the responses and other posts about Winter got me to thinking about weather and snow.

Growing up in southeast Georgia, I didn't see much snow. In fact, it has snowed three times in my home town. By "snowed" I don't mean flakes in the air. I mean snow accumulating on the ground. We had flakes in the air. They didn't stay long. Except for three times.

On February 10, 1973, it snowed. And we built a snowman. Really. And a snowwoman. She didn't have boobs or anything. But it was a snowwoman because we said so. There once was a Polaroid picture of them, but it's long gone. Oh, and a snowball was kept in the freezer for a while. Someone eventually threw it out. Or at someone. I forget which.

On December 23, 1989, it snowed. And I had to work overnight. I was at the radio station and we stayed on overnight to issue weather bulletins and keep the transmitters from freezing. You see, we're not used to snow and we're certainly not used to driving in it. So when the roads freeze, it's a big deal. And snow makes driving difficult, especially for people unfamiliar with it. And consider, the fact that I can tell you all the dates it snowed means that snow is rare.

In March, 1993, it snowed. A big storm came through. But I can't tell you the exact date, but I'm thinking it was around the 13th of March. You see, I wasn't there. I was in Korea.

I got to Korea on January 15th, 1993. One never forgets the date. I had left on the 13th, but it's a long trip and there's an International Date Line to cross and such, so I didn't get there until the 15th.

And it was cold when I got there. But it got colder.

I was sent to Camp Casey, which is near Dongducheon (it was spelled Tong Du Chon when I was there), north of Seoul. Near the DMZ.

Camp Casey's reception station is called the "Turtle Farm" and newly arrived soldiers called "Turtles." I was sent from the Turtle Farm to Camp Hovey, a short run from Casey. Hovey is near Dokori (spelled Toko Ri when I was there).

Arriving at Camp Hovey, I was sent to B Co, 102d MI Battalion (they've since moved). And they were getting ready to roll to the field. Lucky me.

So, we went on a field exercise. The stitches on my Indianhead patch were still warm when we rolled out. And there were the only warm things around.

We got to the hills on the DMZ where we set up camp. And I had nothing to do. They weren't expecting me. So, I spent my time cleaning stoves and moving rocks around. And walking guard duty.

Guard duty on the snow-covered hills in Korea isn't the most fun thing in the world for a boy from southeast Georgia. Oh, I had seen snow before. Twice. In 1973 and again in 1989. But I hadn't walked around in the snow at 2:00 AM. I'm smarter than that.

Or I was until I got to Korea. And had to pull guard duty. In the snow.

Now, having trained at Ft. Stewart (my first duty station), I was used to blackout conditions. So having the entire perimeter lit up with as many lights as we could find took some getting used to. Turns out that the feeling was that it was more important to see anyone approaching than it was to not be seen by them.

So there I am, walking in the snow with more lights than a Tim Allen Christmas Special. And what's going through my mind? The lyrics to a song.

I bet you can guess the title of the song that went through my mind as I walked through this Winter wonderland, can't you? No, I don't guess you can. No, it's not the song you think. It was Manfred Mann's Earth Band's version of "Blinded By The Light."

Why that song? The cold and the snow can really get to you.

1 comment:

  1. Hubby spent a Christmas at Camp Casey a few years ago. He said it was colder there than the Christmas we spent in MN one year. Oh yeah, I drug this poor boy from the south to MN for Christmas 3 weeks after he returned from a 3 month stay in Kuwait. He was the only one in town with a tan.


Please choose a Profile in "Comment as" or sign your name to Anonymous comments. Comment policy