Hell Continues to Freeze Over

I mentioned here about a week ago that Hell, here in Independence, KS had frozen over with the ice storms of last weekend. Now here we are, a full week later, ice still over everything in sight. Every day, the temperature goes up to a little above freezing -- maybe to 40 degrees when the sun is out, a wee bit of the ice drips loose and begins to slowly run down the street. Then darkness falls, the temperature goes back to somewhere between zero or minus one (Tuesday and Wednesday night) and it all freezes again. My house has been frozen solid with sheets of ice all over it for a week; the front door has been solidly locked in ice all week, and the only other way in/out (the back door) has been all I can use. It is under a sheltered, covered area which keeps the rain away, and consequently, all the ice from last weekend. But, there is a catch; isn't there always? Living as I do on the side of a hill with a very slight incline in the yard, I am confronted with _solid_ sheets of ice throughout the yard and the sidewalk out to the street. So, in effect, I cannot go out that way either, except to let the dog out to 'make his potty' in the back yard. The cats are all staying inside, and the dog is pretty quick about letting me know, getting out and coming back inside. _I have not been out of this house for several days now_, almost all activities in town have been cancelled all week anyway. With the damn gutter spout on the roof clogged up, naturally the rain all overflowed last weekend and ran all over my front porch and the stairs there, thus the front door is blocked with ice. And no one has been _in the house_ either; the meals-on-wheels service has been suspended all this week with the roads between here and Coffeyville (from whence comes the food wagon) totally iced over although the city and state -- its Tenth Street out to the city limits, then a state highway -- keep shoveling and scraping and salting, to no avail. The ice is so impacted it is quite difficult to work on.

Given my limited ability to walk anyway, the city authorities have very strongly advised me to 'sit it out', not to DARE trying to walk (with or without my cane) _anywhere_. Someone did show up last Saturday afternoon with a huge box of groceries for me, compliments of the local Episcopal Church; a couple weeks worth of food at least. Medicare ordered a power wheel chair for me and it will be _so good_ when/if it gets here; it is impossible to tip over on the ice, I am told, and I can use it for limited (very limited) trips around town once it arrives, but believe it or not, the highway going up to Kansas City (the supplier) is also mostly blocked with ice, so I am out of luck until the electric chair (which gets 25 miles on a single charge; so I can go all over town and back easily on one charge) arrives here. The city tried to comfort me on the phone yesterday: "if you need anything, Mr. Townson, just give us a call or the police, someone will come out to help you."

We had hoped there might be one or two warm 'spring like' days in this past week so it would all melt in earnest. But instead, the local PBS radio station (KOSU out of Tulsa) interuppted their programs many times Friday afternoon to give a 'weather advisory': Three or four inches of *new snow* assured overnight Friday into Saturday. At least our electric/cable lines have stayed in place, meaning my furnace, microwave oven, refrigerator and such are all working. Last winter was relatively mild; this year, it is total hell.


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Patrick Townson
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