It lasted for months; the block of ice that held most of our dishes captive.
I remember the day I was able to wrest the last utensil free of the icy tomb that had encased our pans, forks, spoons, spatulas, glasses, bowls and plates – almost everything we ate off of – in one huge chunk of ice.
We had recently moved to eastern Washington and were living in a trailer on raw land when it happened. As we were settling in, we met our neighbors and stories were told of winters in eastern Washington – temperatures of minus forty-degrees with snow drifts up to the eaves of your house.
When we mentioned we were from west of the mountains, we got the all-knowing nod of someone who has just learned you are from The Coast and they must break the news to you of the impending doom that is winter in Stevens County.
Incidentally, you are from The Coast if you are from anywhere west of the Cascade mountain range. It doesn’t matter how far from the ocean you live; you are from The Coast and are referred to as a Coasty.
The stories were almost true. We weren’t prepared and me and our son went to live in an emergency shelter for three months while my husband stayed in our trailer with the cat.
Occasionally, I’d come to take a load of dishes to the shelter to wash because the trailer’s pipes were frozen. One day I piled them up in a large Tupperware container to get them out of the way and put it outside. For some reason, it sat there for a couple of days filling with water. Before long the whole container froze solid.
The mass was heavy and there was no breaking it up because there were plastic and glass items embedded in it. It sat for a couple of months before it finally began to thaw. I remember when it melted enough to break into smaller pieces I could bring inside and run hot water over and by the end of March, we finally had all of our dishes back.
Now if we could only find the coffee pot lid I lost in the snow in February.