The great snow storm of December 5th 

 ... it just kept snowing and snowing and snowing ...

from the Stringer photo team

The storm began on Friday evening, December 5, and it snowed and snowed and snowed for 48 hours steady. When it stopped, two and a half feet of snow blanketed our town -- with drifts six feet deep.

Not that our December Debacle was anything like the on-again-off again blizzard of 1978, but it was close for that two-day shot. The thought of having to remove all those tons of snow -- literally, tons of wet, heavy snow -- was overwhelming, especailly since the collective aggregate age of the SilverStringers is something like 76.

This stuff wasn't fluff. No sir. The bottom layer, the first foot, was slush, heavy, heavy, heavy water-laden snow. No fluff here.

The crack Stringer photo team got out on Monday morning, and three veterans -- Shirley Rabb, team coach Louise Fennell and Don Norris -- spent that day breaking new paths to photographic perfection. It was tough going. In fact, it was so tough down to Pine Banks Park that the Park plow broke down about 500 feet from headquarters. But then the park is only half a mile across.

The evidence was photographed by Louise, who caught Richard Trabucco checking the oil stick, apparently looking for something that caused his vehicle to get stuck in the snow. The fellow on the right is Park Superintendent John Burgess, on hand to verify that the truck had, indeed, broken down in the deep snow.

But we weren't alone out there. Two beautiful young ladies were walking their dogs through the park, where the Park truck had plowed before it died. These folks are Julie Nussbaum with poodle Nessie, and Nina Chaleeb with Raven. Note that Nessie is wearing what all good New England dogs should have -- leather snow boots.

The photo at the left was taken on Friday afternoon, showing the rather deflated, dejected vinyl holiday figures at the Aborn place on Grove Street. Whereas the picture on the right, taken on Monday morning, shows an obviously delighted snowbear and her cub, hamming it up in the deep snow.

On Spear Street (my street) is the neighbor's Toyota Corolla wagon that found the snow Sunday night far exceeded its ground clearance, leaving it hanging. In the middle is the six foot drift that had shrunk to four by Tuesday. Yes, the weather did a 180 and actually turned hot that week. At the right is the Norris family Pin Oak, minus a couple of limbs that were sacrificed for an addition to the house. Actually, I've been looking for some excuse to run that photo for two years now, and it got cropped from the wrong end.

Shirley Rabb (a native of Maine) actually went outdoors DURING the storm, when the snow was really falling hard. And she learned a lesson: Preset your focus on your digital camera to infinity when shooting snow falling. Live and learn. Funny thing was, all three of us made the same mistake.

At the left is Shirley's (and housemate Donna's) back yard, then the front with two feet of snow, and finally, a neighbor finding that his snowblower wasn't up to the 32 inches.

That's Boardman Avenue out there, and it looks like some enterprising young man is drumming up business with his power blower. And right behind him are the families that, having suffered two long days inside, broke out the sleds and tried to walk the dog.

Meanwhile, back at Pine Banks Park on Monday afternoon, Shirley was photographing the inveterate walkers and left-over oak leaves that cast pretty shadows. Those shadows that late afternoon were gorgeous through the woods.

Words fall short in describing the winter beauty of Pine Banks Park. This group was taken by the group of three. By the end of the afternoon, we had three sets of the same photographs, all of them, with minor variations, of sunlit snow offset by iceblue shadows. Gorgeous.

A golden bush highlighted with snow. Backlighting draws perceptive shooters. And a modern man gets his daily dose of exercise, circling the plowed park road round and round.

... and we close with Louise's forlorn photo of the snow-covered fishpond,

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