Snow on Memory Creek!

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Note from Mrs. M: this journal entry is based on true weather events. The weather here in the lower foothills has been unprecedented. Snow everywhere. Thank goodness it melted away the next day. Snow, snow, go away!

February 1891

Will spring never arrive? For the first time since I was born, the Circle C had snow. Real snow, not a dusting. It began to fall just after Sunday dinner. The children swarmed the window and oohed and aahed.

Riley did not ooh or aah. He looked troubled. “Andi,” he said, “get the children ready. We need to head home as soon as possible.” He stepped outside the French doors and shook his head. “This is not good.”

“Why not, Uncle Riley?” Sammy asked. “I love the snow. I hope Daddy doesn’t take me an Gracie back to town. There pro’bly won’t be no snow there.” He made a face then turned to Lucy. “Mama, can me and Gracie and Susie and Jared go outside and play in the snow?” His eyes were shining.

“Jared is coming home,” Riley told the little boy. “I think he will have all the snow he can stomach in an hour or so. Memory Creek is much higher up.” He shivered. “And I believe the wind is starting to pick up.”

In all my life, I had never seen snow fall on the Circle C. Riley was right. If it was snowing here, it must be dumping at Memory Creek. Riley and I exchanged worried looks. None of the family was prepared for snow or for high winds, which the folks in the mountains or back east call a blizzard.

By the time I bundled up the babies, and Riley stuffed Jared’s arms into his coat, Lucy and Justin had decided to drive back to town. The Circle C wasn’t much higher in elevation than Fresno, but the snow would be cold and blowing. Melinda and Peter took the hint and wrapped baby William in warm blankets. In no time, we three families were headed out the door.

“I’m sorry to leave you with all the dinner cleanup,” I apologized.

Mother waved my concerns aside. “Just go, Daughter. You and Riley are headed into the most dangerous part. You are higher in elevation. Go quickly, and be safe. God go with you.”

I nodded, cuddling the twins on my lap. Jared snuggled between Riley and me, and we were off on a very cold half-hour or more trip home. If we had known the weather would change so quickly, I would have brought along caps and mittens and warm coats for Riley, Jared, and me. I would have packed cozy buntings for the babies. But how could we have known? It was barely sprinkling as we drove out to the Circle C after Sunday services. Rain had turned Fresno’s streets to thick, sloppy mud, but we were used to that.

We were not used the swirling, blowing snowflakes. They stung like fire when they hit my face. I felt as if I was driving into the Sierra high country, not to the lowlands near the valley. This was unbelievable!

Real pictures of the setting. Brr!

“I-I’m c-cold,” Jared whimpered.

I wrapped the carriage blanket up to his chin. “Be strong, little man,” I urged.

It was nearly impossible to keep warm in our lightweight outerwear. When the twins started crying, tears welled up in my eyes. My poor babies! Riley slapped the reins a little harder on the horse’s back, and he jumped into a faster trot. By now, snow covered the ground in inches. The valley dusting was far, far behind us, maybe 1,000 feet below.

“Hurry,” I begged Riley quietly. My teeth chattered. My hands, even balled together under the lap robe, stung. Riley must be freezing, I thought. A Stetson and pair of lightweight riding gloves did little to keep out the cold.

“Hang on, sweetheart,” Riley replied, gritting his teeth. A muscle in his jaw twitched, telling me that he was probably colder than I was.

By the time we rounded the last hill and saw our ranch, the horses were slipping and sliding. The buggy swayed back and forth. I swallowed a scream. Don’t let the buggy tip over, I prayed.

A couple of inches of snow lay on top of the barn. The wagon was covered in snow too. Riley pulled back on the reins and hopped down. “Come here, little man.” He grabbed Jared and hustled him into the house, which I knew would be as cold as an icebox. The fireplace in the sitting room sounded lovely right about now.

Riley returned in a minute to take the babies. He hefted one crying twin in each arm. I left the buggy stiff with cold but waved Riley inside. “I’m coming,” I told him. “Get the girls inside quick!”

Like I figured, the house was an icebox. “Take care of the horse and the stock,” I told Riley. “I’ll get a fire started.” I smiled weakly. “Then maybe you can get the black beast to cooperate so we can heat up something to warm us up.”

Riley nodded and tramped back outside. I made sure the girls were wrapped up in blankets, told Jared to sit near them and keep the blankets secured, and went to work on the fire. Unlike the black beast, the fireplace never gave me any troubled. Within minutes, I had laid the paper and kindling, struck the match, and watched the blaze spring to life.

Thank you, God, I prayed silently. My feet and hands felt stiff with cold. The babies were screaming now, and Jared shook and whimpered. All signs that they were fine, if only a little cold.

Riley stomped the snow off his boots and shook off his Stetson before he came inside. He warmed his hands at the fire and grinned at me. Like your mother likes to say, “All’s well that ends well. This will be a journal entry you won’t want to forget. Date it well, sweetie. I doubt we’ll see snow like this ever again.”

Riley was most likely right about that! I had never experienced it.

Riley turned to Jared. “As soon as you warm up, I’ll take you outside and we’ll build a snowman before this white stuff melts away.”

Jared clapped his shaking, red hands. “Yes, Daddy! Snow!”

I peeked out the window and watched Riley and Jared roll the balls and create a snowman. How fun it looked! But I was content to comfort the girls and heat the milk for hot chocolate.

An hour later, the sitting room was toasty warm. The black beast obeyed Riley and I soon had three cups of hot chocolate waiting for the snowman builders. They piled into the house, laughing. Snow flew everywhere.

“Look, Mama!” Jared pointed his chubby finger against the windowpane. “Snowman!”

“He’s a handsome snowman,” I praised. It had been a fun afternoon but a close call. Snow is fun in the mountains, I decided. But I prefer 75 degrees in February, like last year, and the year before . . . and the year before that.

The Sierra can keep the snow.

Published by Andi Carter

I'm the main character in the Circle C Adventures series. I live on a huge cattle ranch in 1880s California. These are my adventures.

18 thoughts on “Snow on Memory Creek!

  1. That was an AWESOME story Mrs. M! Last year in December we had snow drifts so high, they were taller than my 18yr old brother…who is TALL!
    BTW my 12th birthday is coming up and I’ll get my email so i can subscribe to you! Can’t wait!!!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Great story!
    I’m in the mountains right now and we got 8 1/2 inches of snow just on Saturday night. Currently I’m still enjoying it but I usually start getting tired of it by the end of March 😀

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Oh wow! That would be so scary!
    We like never have snow where I live in Georgia. Right now it is 65 degrees and beautiful! I wouldn’t trade the north for the south for anything lol
    @all those in the cold north— STAY WARM!!!

    Like

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