The deafening roar of the wind circling our “little house on the prairie” in the open country of Tazewell County, Illinois, still makes me shiver when I think back 42 years to the “Blizzard of 1978.” I had never seen anything like it and not many at the time ever had. In fact, for the lower Midwest, the National Weather Service had pegged it as “the blizzard of a century.” It probably was since I’ve never seen anything like it since then.

Joyce and I and Julie were living at the time on the wide open Illinois prairies where I was pastoring the Spring Lake Missionary Church. As it turned out, Sandi was two weeks from birth. With the birth of a child that soon, naturally I was a bit nervous about what would happen if her birth were to come during the big blizzard.

A doctor that was a member in our congregation at the time was less than comforting when I asked her what I was going to do if Joyce should go into labor during the storm.

She told me that I was going to call her and listen to details as she directed me in delivering our child, with much more confidence than I felt.

Thank goodness that stressful moment didn’t occur.

Late in the morning of the blizzard day, there was a knock at our back door. When I answered, there stood a frightened young mother. In the panic of the storm, she and her husband and two-month-old baby had tried to flee the storm; instead they buried their car in a 10-foot drift across the road in front of our home.

At that moment, I had a once-in-a-lifetime (I hope) experience. I went out to her to help rescue her husband and the baby. I grabbed the baby while she and her husband stumbled through the giant snowdrifts to our house. As I carried the baby against 50-mile-per-hour winds and blinding snow, I saw nothing but red spots in front of my eyes. Thankfully, we made it into our house where they became our guests for a week.

It actually became a fun time, cooking meals together and playing board games, trapped in our parsonage. Julie loved their little baby.

Six days later, we heard the sound we had been waiting for. The deep sound of motors could be heard bringing snowplows and other rescue equipment down our road to open things up. The plows opened a path down our stone road, a tunnel a mile long where one car could meander through plowed snow higher than our car to the main road to town.

As the wind settled, numerous pictures were taken of the “once in a century” event. These days people ask me if I was “already born” then and what it was like. That tells another tale — my age. I was already 30-years-old when that century blizzard helped us make memories in our “little house on the prairie” 42 years ago.

Everyone who made it through the blizzard have their own story. This was ours from the open prairies of central Illinois, 30 miles south of Peoria.