Friday, March 20, 2009
Last weekend I had the opportunity to chit-chat with KFYR's morning weatherman from Bismarck, and the discussion turned to the always-exciting subject of homesteader mortality on the territorial prairies of the 19th century. Romanticism of time-travel aside, neither of us have any interest in trying to live like they did, when a fall from a horse or a bad tooth could result in death. In fact, so much was unknown, everyone was so on their own, that it is hard to believe anyone lasted more than one winter. he recommended a book he is reading called The Children's Blizzard, an account of the Blizzard of 1888. The weather was mild, there were no warnings on the horizon, no NOAA weather service to break into daytime television, and as children were preparing to walk the few short miles back home from school, a whiteout blizzard hit. A surprising number survived, but the hundreds that didn't make it was enormously tragic to the families and communities that were struggling against enormous odds to begin with. Sad stories don't always appeal to me, but when a wheatherman is reading a book about a snowstorm, it must be worth the read.