Perils of the plowman

Ron Patch is a Chester native, Chester Historical Society president, and a lifelong antiques dealer. He can be reached at 802-374-0119 or email

Well, we finally had a good storm. How did you handle it? Below is how friends and I dealt with it.

  My place

Ron Patch had some digging to do. Photo provided

Route 11, where I live, was snow covered with very few venturing out. Mainly all I saw were plow trucks out earning a living. It was after dark when I looked out in my driveway.

Reggie Munson, my plowman, was stuck in the mouth of my driveway. I hurriedly went out to see if I could help. I threw on my coat and Sorels. I didn’t bother tying them. I waded through the waist deep snow towards Reggie. Reggie says, “It’s ok, Ronnie, I called a friend to pull me out.”

I continued forward but somehow managed to fall over backwards. Here I floundered. Reggie says, “Ronnie, do you need help?”

“No, I’ll make it,” I replied. As I thrashed around in the snow, I dug in deeper. I laid in the snow attempting to do sit-ups so I could get up to no avail.

Finally, I rolled over and put my bare hands down to push myself up on my hands and knees. Henry says I picked a hell of a time to make snow angels. I had a shovelful of snow down my butt and a shovelful down the back of my neck. I was soaked when I came in. I got 38 inches at my place.

Popple Dungeon bus

I got to recalling storms from decades ago. In grade school, school was seldom canceled by a storm. Then I remembered the Popple Dungeon school bus.

I called my classmate Nancy Watkins Lockerby for her memories. Nancy grew up in the Dungeon. Harold Rowe drove the Dungeon bus. Everyone knew Harold as Rapid Rowe.

Rapid was no speed demon. I remember the Dungeon bus was often the last bus to arrive at school during a storm.

There were times when Rapid had to put tire chains on the bus to get through. Try to imagine lying on your back in the snow putting tire chains on.

Nancy named all the kids that rode the bus. The town didn’t plow the road to her house in those days. Kids walked quite a distance to the bus stop.

Nancy told me in mud season Rapid would park the bus and walk the kids home. Rapid lived just south of the post office and was janitor at the high school.

  Kim Kendall

I called Kim Thursday at the height of the storm. Kim has a lady, Teresa, who does chores for him. Teresa was there when I called. Kim told me he hadn’t been plowed out when he saw Teresa coming down 103 with her blinker on. She drives a larger four-wheel-drive pickup.

“No, Teresa, don’t try it,” Kim says to himself. She busted through the snowbank from the state plow and made it into the driveway, where she got stuck. Teresa waded in the waist deep snow to Kim’s. She got a shovel and began shoveling Kim’s ramp so he could get out if need be.

When she came in, she was soaked. She works week day mornings for a couple hours doing whatever Kim needs. She comes back at 5 p.m. to fix Kim’s supper. She brings in his wood, does dishes, laundry, or whatever is needed. Teresa is a Vermont girl.

Danny Clemons

I called Danny during the storm to see how he was making out. Danny lives at Riverside Apartments in Bellows Falls. Danny always goes out in the parking lot to clear snow off his car. While there, he cleans off a couple other cars of older residents.

Danny went out to clear off his car Thursday. The plow truck had made an earlier pass creating a mess around the parked cars. Danny started to clear off his car when he broke the handle on his snowbrush. He went back inside and removed the handle from his mop and duct taped it to the snowbrush. As Danny said, “Now I could reach further.”

Danny told me there was a tent set up near the hotel in the square. When Danny drove by, it had collapsed under the weight of the snow. What a surprise. Later the tent was resurrected.

Recently I’ve had numerous requests for my “Volume 1 Local History” book. I’ve been sold out for some time so I had them reprinted. They are available at Stone House Antiques Center and Blair Books & More.

  This week’s old saying: “Snow is the poor man’s fertilizer.”

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