40 Years

#40Yearsin40Days 1982

#40Yearsin40Days  1982 was another memorable year for the Troutmans. My brother enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and his first assignment was Lowry AFB in Denver. Brighton was only about 30 minutes from Denver so he and his beautiful wife and baby girl temporarily moved in with us. Yes, into our holy.moly.itsy.bitsy.tiny duplex. But we didn’t even notice. We just made do and enjoyed being together. Our kids were born about two weeks apart. They turned two this year which meant for very busy days and nights.

Airman Adam 1982 – he wears a hat kind of like this now as an airline pilot
Adam Stephy pop cans #WhoNeedsToys
Adam Stephy in cupboard 1982
Adam Christmas program age 2

My brother built a picnic table, we bought a baby hibatchi and we spent a lot of time outside. LOL! We all have such fond memories of those months. A rare opportunity to share life together as adults.

The summer brought special trips. One to Camp Sanders in northern Idaho to celebrate and honor my grandfather’s retirement from almost 50 years of pastoral ministry. It was a very special time to finally publicly highlight so many of the things Grandpa accomplished, churches built and planted, and so many of the people whose lives were forever changed because they were introduced to Jesus Christ under Grandpa AND Grandma’s ministry. A beautiful heritage and one I don’t take for granted.

Grandpa Ken Bertholf golf cart ride 1982

And another to the Oregon Coast…one of our family favorites since childhood.

Oregon Coast

But the biggest story of the year was the Blizzard of ’82. We had gone to Kansas to be with my parents for Christmas. We had a great holiday, as always, and Adam finally decided to be potty trained! We’d been trying for six months and he just decided to do it while at G&G “Lini’s” house. I was a happy mama … until we started seeing troubling weather forecasts back in Colorado. Apparently, a blizzard … a real, life-threatening Christmas blizzard … had hit the Denver area while we were gone.

Now normal, responsible parents would have stayed put in Kansas until things settled a bit more back in Colorado. But not us. Scott had begun to venture out of Christian radio and had a part time job at a large radio station in Denver. He was scheduled to go on the air that Saturday evening and he wasn’t going to miss it. So we set out for Colorado. I-70 was closed so we found another highway and made our way west and south and Scott carefully navigated us all the way to downtown Denver. To this day I don’t know how we made it. He went on the air that night on 56KLZ. The radio staff were all stranded at the station so Adam (age 2 1/2) and I joined them, mostly on the floor, while Scott finished his shift. Someone had made ham sandwiches which we ate gratefully. It looked kind of like this:

Credit: UPI

From the Denver Post: The Blizzard of 1982 in Colorado descended upon the state on Christmas Eve, continuing through Christmas Day, and once it was finished, dumped three feet of snow in total.
“And reports from surrounding towns – Fort Collins, Castle Rock, Winter Green and Limon – showed only a few inches. The Christmas ’82 storm had bulls-eyed Denver with massive snowfall amounts of 3 feet and more. It was an amazing display of the power of nature!”  –Ronn Irving

We spent a fitful night at the station and made the decision to try to make it home to Brighton. Outside the station was a nightmare. We wanted to avoid I-25 so we went home the “back way”. It took us through this area:

Blizzard of ’82, Colo 94 near Pumpkin Center. Bill Wunsuch, The Denver Post

Does it look desolate and endless and scary? Well, it was. There was nothing but white for as far as we could see in all directions. Nothing had been plowed. Not a car, not a person, not a sound. We kept looking at each other and grew silent as Adam fell asleep in the back seat and we were faced with the realization that we were in trouble. We prayed. We put ourselves in God’s care and protection and Scott kept driving. After a period of time we saw lights in the distance and as we drew closer, saw it was a grader! Scott gratefully followed behind this brave grader driver all the way to Brighton. Can you breathe again?! I just let out a deep breath of relief and gratitude as I felt all those feelings again. God was out there with us in the nothingness. Our son slept peacefully through the whole thing. We knew his tender mercy and protection once again even in the midst of irresponsibility. And Scott is still the best snow driver I know.

There is more to the story, of course. The shoveling and shoveling. The hunkering down. The sting of fully realizing we had placed our little family in great danger. The church ranchers plowing our back alley so we could get in and out. There is always more. We’ll always remember 1982.  #gottalovecolorado  #coloradowinter  #coloradostrong #lifeofaradioDJ #hotchocolate #didntdrinkcoffeeyet

Starting to dig out after the Blizzard of ’82. Denver Post Library Archive
A man uses a broom to clear off his car after the Blizzard of ’82. Denver Post Library Archive
A man trying to dig out his car after the Blizzard of ’82. Denver Post Library Archive

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