Archived Story

Snow would bring fond memories

Published 12:34pm Tuesday, January 28, 2014

There’s a funny thing about snow in the South.

People want it and hope for it and, when it comes, it’s a big event in their lives.

However, it’s often difficult for many to remember just when it was that it snowed.

“Seems like it snowed back sometime in 1973… but, then, maybe it was ’74 and, for sure in 1990 or was it ’93?”

Snow events don’t happen that often in Pike County but, perhaps, frequently enough that, “It’s just hard to remember.”

Jim Medley of Brundidge is not sure of the month or the year of the “Great Snow at Camp AlaFlo” but he still shivers when he thinks about it.

It was early March and probably around 1980. Actually, the snow accumulation wasn’t all that great unless the tale is told by one of the Scouts of Troop 34 in Brundidge who donned Boy Scout Bermuda shorts for the Spring Camporee.

“We got to Camp AlaFlo on Friday and everything was fine,” said Medley, who was the Scoutmaster of Troop 34. “That night, it started turning cold and got colder. All day Saturday it was bitterly cold, so cold that the flames on our gas stoves wouldn’t heat water.”

Medley said the Scouts’ underwear froze on the line “as stiff as a board.”

“It was as cold as ice and the wind blew like a gale,” he said.

The Scouts were not prepared for weather like that. It was so cold that even the novel snow that covered the ground wasn’t a deterrent from their misery.

Emergency supplies – blankets from home – brought some relief from the cold but nothing can erase the memory of that “spring” Camporee at Camp AlaFlo.

“The Scouts got a badge for that Camporee,” Medley said and added laughing that the Scouts painted snowflakes on the badges in recognition of the Great Snow at AlaFlo.”

Dick Barr of Banks said that he remembers snow falling in Pike County but has difficulty remembering the years.

Barr owned and operated the dairy at Banks and said that cows continue to give milk – rain, sleet or snow.

“It’s too cold to do some things but it’s never too cold to milk,” Barr said.

Pike County is a relative stranger to snow but when it comes, people take advantage of the opportunity to slide down hillsides, throw snowballs, build snowmen and make snow angels.

But it’s “snow fun” at the dairy barn.

“Snow was not too much fun for me,” Barr said. “We had to milk just like we would any other day.”

Snow weather meant cold weather and Barr said anyone who works outside has a different view of a cold, snowy day.

Back in 1973, when the snow fell in Pike County, Jimmy Ramage was living on Fleming Street with his wife and four-year-old son.

Snow was a novelty, and he joined the other residents of the neighborhood who were making snowmen and throwing snowballs.

“We all gathered on Bill Hudson’s yard and made snowmen but, for the most part, people stayed home because we weren’t used to driving in weather conditions like that,” Ramage said. “We had another big snow around 1990 and people couldn’t get out. By that time, we were living on Finney Hill and we couldn’t get out of our drive and, if we could have, we couldn’t have gotten on the highway.”

Johnny Garrett owned and operated the Piggly Wiggly in Brundidge and needed money to open his store so people could get milk and bread.

Ramage was the president of First National Bank so Garrett drove out to Finney Hill on his four-wheel drive, fetched the banker and took him to town to open the vault.

“The bank staff couldn’t get to work and that was before ATMs,” Ramage said. “People needed bread and Johnny needed money and I needed a ride to the vault.”

As mayor of Brundidge, Ramage said he is viewing the winter “storm” differently from the way he did as a young father and as a banker.

“We have concerns about icing,” he said.

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