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Ordeal at Eastertime
By Bob Lantis, Terry
From 'The Truth About Montana Winters', (p) 1976, Miles City Star
It was just before Easter in 1945. We left Ekalaka at 10:30 a.m. The sun was shining brightly and it was 10 below. In the group were myself, my mother Eva Lantis, an aunt, Mrs. Edna Collins, cousin De Estin, and a friend, George T. Kittleman.

We were in a one-half ton 1941 Chevy pickup. We had just stocked up on groceries and the back end was full and tarped over.

We were on our way back to the ranch, 35 miles west of Ekalaka. Also traveling along with us in another pickup were Johnny Johnston and his mother. There was a slight breeze blowing across and about a foot of snow on the ground.

We were about 10 miles out of Ekalaka when the wind picked up and we were in a full-fledged ground blizzard.

The Johnston pickup froze up and had to be abandoned.

All of us took turns shoveling to keep the road open and we took to the ridges. We finally were stuck hard and fast in a snow drift.

We shoveled out and the wind let up long enough for us to spot a windmill in the distance and we headed that way.

It was the Eddy Elmore place and their plight was almost as bad as ours. He and his wife and two small children were almost out of groceries and were almost out of wood.

We took our groceries into the house and George and I chopped up corral posts for fire wood. The women fixed a big supper of fried bacon, biscuits and gravy and we hung a blanket over the door to keep the renewed storm from blowing snow through the keyhole.

We stayed up all night keeping the fire going and the blizzard raged on.

At dawn, the storm eased and it was 35 below. We had breakfast and took a team and sled to get Johnston's pickup. It was a little milder after we crossed the Powder River Divide and we had no further trouble getting to our ranch where we stayed until spring.


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