Sioux Falls K-12 closing schools the day before a weather event is as rare as a coherent “Victory Speech” following an Iowa caucus. Days like today bring back specific memories of Snow Days gone by. I can say with concrete certainly that during my K-12 days I was the very first kid in the entire district to know school was cancelled that day. My Dad was the Superintendent of Schools at Plainview, MN for 20 years. On days like today, my Dad was up very early (4am?) and on the kitchen phone calling his bus drivers for driving conditions in the country. After deciding to close he’d start making calls to the area radio stations, giving each their special “code word” (so renegade students wouldn’t call in false reports) and details on closing. The kitchen phone was one of two in the house. It also happened to be right next to my bedroom. I didn’t even have to get out of my nice, warm bed. This was long before TV scrolls, or texts, or web pages or weather radar. I wouldn’t have needed them anyway. My info came straight from the top.
Our house in Plainview was on a corner. That meant we only had one next door neighbor, the Sparks family. Lowell “Red” Sparks just happened to be the John Deere dealer in town. When the blizzard snow and winds were at their worst, Red would find his way down to Sparks Implement and return at the wheel of a state-of-the-art JD with a loader on the front. Before long the streets of the entire neighborhood were cleared. Since he used a loader there were BIG piles of snow strategically placed like mountain ranges on both our western and northern borders. Snow forts, caves and tunnels of epic scale were quickly built and manned, guaranteeing the neighborhood’s safety from attack.
Randy Breuer, Noted big person
My last memory today was from my junior year in high school. It was March and the Minnesota State Boys Basketball tournaments were underway at the long departed St. Paul Civic Center. Lake City, the perennial powerhouse from our conference and district led by 7’2” Randy Breuer, was playing. Breuer was the first round pick (18th overall) of the Milwaukee Buck. He played 10 NBA seasons. I had to play against him for 6 years. Guess who won? Anyway we knew many of the Lake City players and they were our rooting interest. Normally the first round games would happen when we were at school, but we had a blizzard and went home early. Two of my friends (Brent Wohlers and Dave Arnett) worked after school at Kings Grocery downtown. Without incriminating anyone, the boys had “liberal access” to all the Mountain Dew, chips and whole cooked chickens they could carry. Doug Marcotte’s parents were working, so we holed up at his house watching basketball and gorging the way only 16-17 year old boys can do. Lake City won that game and the entire tournament. That afternoon might not sound like much, but it was grand…grand enough to remember 38 years later.
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