It’s one week after Winter Storm Hercules blew through and Putnam County is switching from snow boots to duck boots, from polar fleece-lined parkas to Carhartt jackets. I don’t believe that any of us are putting our heavy duty gear in storage, though.

There’s been local talk over gas station coffee and donuts that compares last week’s snowy freeze to the first storm of January 1978. Even if you weren’t on the scene, you’ve probably heard talk of the second storm that buried much of the eastern half of this country. If you were around, you might even own one of those “I Survived the Blizzard of ‘78” T-shirts.

I spent much of my childhood on Road 7L, halfway between Ottawa and Pandora. The east side of the road was and still is wooded. When the wind blows from the east, all is quiet. To the west, the ground is wide open for miles. Nothing stops a west wind, or anything that it may be carrying, other than a few landscaped houses.

In 1978, my parents were both school teachers. Dad made it home from Elida when the first round of snow fell. School closed early so the bus dropped me off at the mailbox before drifting made that impossible for several weeks. Mom left school from Archbold and made it as far as the Ottawa IGA. When she carried her groceries to the car, she found that so much snow had packed in under the vehicle’s hood that it wouldn’t start. She shared a room with two other women at the Schnipke Inn. The next day, my grandpa made it to town to pick her up in his farm truck. He was able to get as far as the corner of Roads 7L and O. Mom, a tiny person, plowed through hip-high snow for a mile along Cranberry Run to make it the rest of the way home.

Mom said she thought she was going to die during that morning trek. Some people didn’t survive the blizzard of 1978. When my child was small, I took a writing job in Fort Wayne. My fellow public relations staff members told me stories of meeting stranded motorists on State Route 30, people who were found cold and still inside their cars during the post storm dig out.

In 1978, the Pandora Times newspaper ran two photos which made it into my scrapbook. One features my dad and me digging my parents’ cars out of the snow, from the roof down. The second, taken in May, shows a large snow drift at the base of the hill above the Road M6 bridge over Riley Creek, one of the last snow deposits to melt in the county, according to Editor Don Schneck.

We did some digging last week. The donkey removed his blankets on Wednesday, three layers of blankets that I had wrapped him in on Monday. The township’s plows piled six-foot banks of snow along 7L, snow that Hercules’ west wind blasted all the way east from State Route 65. The Blanchard River rose a bit and is on its way down. The school make-up day schedule is printed in this newspaper.

We’ll be OK, even if the coffee klatch is correct and this storm is a practice run for February. The big difference between now and 1978 is that our storms are named after superheroes and mythological characters. We can track a villainous polar vortex not just on our TVs but also on our home computers and even our phones. Our wireless weather forecasters smack a little of game show hosts.

“He got his start at roughly 66.5 degrees north latitude, picked up a little steam in Canada and is starting to cause a sensation in the U.S. of A. He’s coming to your town. Let’s all raise our voices for today’s guest, Winter Storm Odysseus!”

Makes me want to pull up to a drive-thru and shout, “Captain, I’m hit, I’m hit!” just to get in character.