Everybody has been talking about the snow we’ve had in Southwest Iowa. Our days and nights have been cold and the snow keeps piling up. I’m ready for spring to get here.


Someone who did get here recently was my son Bob. He flew from Seattle where they were having even more snow than we have had. He says that Seattle only gets a bad snow storm every few years. They don’t have many snowplows to clear the roads. People don’t have experience driving on slippery streets. Seattle also has more hills than we do here.


The result was a big, snowy mess. The airport shut down for awhile and his flight was postponed for a day. I was very glad when he finally got here and we could settle into our cozy home.


Something I wanted to tell him about was a dream I had that was very memorable and made me smile. Sometimes I have dreams I don’t like and then I am relieved to wake up. This one was a good dream, and I remember it clearly.


In the dream I invited lots of people to my front yard for a party to build snowmen. We’ve had so much snow this winter that there was plenty on the ground.


I couldn’t believe how many people I invited and how many came. Many were from my past. Among those who are no longer with us was my sister with her bright red hair and sparkling smile.


I’m sure I invited my husband Robert, though I don’t know how I got a message to him. He said he would come and bring his parents, Lucretia and Shorty Birkby.


Most who came to the party are still living. Some were ministers I have appreciated over the years. One was Reverend Mike Metz, who preached at our Sidney Methodist Church for ten years, so we knew him well. He now lives in Fairfield, Iowa, so he would have come quite a distance to make a snowman in my front yard.


Adam Swanson, the ragtime pianist, also accepted my invitation. He responded positively and asked if I wanted him to play the piano during the party. I wrote back and said that would be wonderful. I also invited Marty Mincer, the other gifted ragtime keyboard player. He promised to come, as well.


KMA broadcasters Don and Dean arrived. They brought some of the early KMA musicians and also Bernice Currier, an early radio homemaker who had played the violin at the station.


Oh, my, my front yard was full of people! I welcomed them and told them they could build whatever they wanted. It could be snowmen, snow ladies, big hearts, or anything else.


Everyone got busy and soon the yard was full of snowmen and snow ladies. There was a pony and several dogs made of snow. Oh mercy!


The time came for me to invite them all inside. I asked them to put their coats in the bedroom. Fortunately there were three bedrooms because there had to be lots of room for so many coats.

Some of my helpers were here, too. They fixed cocoa and toast for everyone.


As my guests warmed up, they got out musical instruments. There were lots of guitars and an autoharp. Marty Mincer and Adam Swanson played duets on the piano. Soon we were all singing.


I enjoyed it thoroughly and I wanted that party to go on forever. It seemed so real. I woke up feeling happy to have shared time with so many people I love.


I know there are experts who analyze dreams and look for all sorts of meaning in them. Maybe the real meaning of my dream is that the next time I’m falling asleep and I want to have another happy visit with everyone, I’ll imagine hosting a snowman party and see who shows up.




Whenever we have bad snow, I think of Laura Ingles Wilder’s descriptions of blizzards in her Little House on the Prairie books. Here’s a recipe based on one of her pioneer recipes. It comes from the Little House on the Prairie website.



1 cup corn meal

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cup boiling water

Oil or shortening


Mix together corn meal, sugar, and salt. Slowly add boiling water and stir until just combined. Do not over-mix.


Warm a griddle or frying pan (nonstick or cast iron) over medium heat until drops of water “dance” across heated surface when sprinkled on it. (Johnny-cakes will stick to an aluminum pan, so it is best to use a griddle or frying pan made of cast iron or with a non-stick coating.)


Spread a tablespoon of oil in the warm pan. Pour ¼ cup of batter on the griddle. After the edges dry, wait about 30 seconds and then flip over the johnny-cake with a wide spatula. The second side does not take as long as the first to cook.


Cook remaining johnny-cakes the same way and serve warm with maple syrup, molasses, gravy, or baked beans.


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