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Was I really lamenting the lost winters of my childhood in my last letter? Did we bring the winter south with us from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula?

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to stay home while we were bombarded with a wintry mix, first a warm-ish rain with quickly dropping temps that slicked up roads, and then, as icing on the cake, the snow came. And then it blew, drifting in the already treacherous roads. It was so bad that several of our townships suspended plowing last night.

But this morning, we woke to a calm wonderland. The bare branches of trees are silvered and shining in the sun. It’s cold, but it always seems warmer when the sun is out. I looked out our window in time to catch our wonderful farmer neighbor (I think it was Sean, but it could have been Jim) with his orange plow, clearing our driveway. He had already made a few passes, and by the time I got my boots on to run out and thank him and see if he had time to come in for coffee, he was gone, heading down the road, maybe to plow his sister out. I hope they know how lucky we feel to have such wonderful neighbors.

But let me continue my story from last time, about our adventures up north. When I left off, I had just described our Hok ski session, where we explored the cross-country trails and then warmed up with soup. Michael sneaked over and made dinner reservations for that evening, but we had to go back to the hotel and feed and walk the dogs first. I was worried about the predicted snowfall for the evening, but the ski clerk reassured me somewhat. “You should be OK,” he said. “What kind of a car do you have? Four-wheel drive?”

“Well, no,” we said. “It’s a Prius.”

“You should be all right. They’re really good about plowing here. Snow tires?”

My husband and I just looked at each other. But our host just smiled and assured us that we should probably be fine. “The only part you need to worry about is the curve just outside the driveway. It’s pretty steep.”

“But if we go into the drift,” I said, “there’s no cell coverage.”

“Nope!” he said, cheerfully, wiping off our skis to return to the rack. “No cell coverage out here.”

And we were fine. Until we tried to get up the hill on the long driveway to the lodge. Before the snow, the drive was well sanded, and we had no trouble that morning. But now a light blanket of powder had covered the sand, and the snow was still coming down.

Our little car chugged and chugged, but we just couldn’t get up the hill. Michael backed down the curving drive, staying well between the 3-foot snowbanks on either side, took a running start and ... we still couldn’t get up the hill. I lost track of how many tries we made, and we decided to back into one of the cabin driveways and turn around, to go home when we got a little bit too close to the edge and went into the snowbank.

We could see the lodge, and the drive was wide, so we decided it would be OK to just walk up the hill for our dinner and deal with the car later. We explained our predicament to the host, and she suggested we enjoy our dinner, and when we were finished, she would send someone out to help us. We took a table next to the fireplace and enjoyed all over again the historic feel of the polished timbers of the lodge, almost glowing in the evening light. We shared a plate of delicious stuffed cabbages, and the chef again visited our table to chat. After dinner, we asked for help and a shovel.

Readers, it took a shovel, two sturdy Yoopers, a big truck and a thick rope and over an hour to dig us out of our snowdrift. They seemed to relish the task, but it was a complicated extraction. When towing us with the rope didn’t work, they circled behind us and pushed us out with the truck. Then they watched us as we descended the hill. We made it home to our dogs. We’re grateful for the warmth of strangers who were willing to brave the cold to help.

Is it any wonder we stayed home yesterday? Now the sun is out, and it’s warming up. When the temperature rises above 20 degrees, I’ll let the chickens out for the last few hours of sunlight. The dogs and I will walk down the road a bit and enjoy the beautiful winter landscape.

Promote beauty; sustain peace; blessed be.

Mary Lucille Hays lives in Birdland near White Heath. She is serious about answering mail from readers, email, too! Consider subscribing to support your small-town newspaper. You can follow Birdland on Instagram and Twitter (@BirdlandLetters) or at letterfrombirdland.

blogspot.com. Mary can be reached at letterfrombirdland@gmail.com or via snail mail care of this newspaper.

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