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Fears of blizzard blown away, replaced by some fun

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Ashly Studyvin of Maumee hangs on to boyfriend Zachary Gramling of Henry County's Colton area as they zip about Liberty Center during last week's snowstorm.

The Blade/Dave Zapotosky
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LIBERTY CENTER, Ohio -- When the much-ballyhooed blizzard faded and fizzled, folks in Henry County shrugged it off, grabbed the shovels, and set to dig out.

It took hours, not days.

With all the hype, comparisons to the Blizzard of '78 were anticipated. But this recent storm? Not even close.

Once the howling wind subsided, you almost could hear grandparents, gathering grandchildren to their knees, saying in unison, "Sorry, kids. You'll have to wait. This just wasn't your generation's blizzard."

Indeed. As winter storms go, this wasn't such a much.

No kidding. A Blade reporter who survived the Blizzard of '78 and has the shirt to prove it, gave away authentic blizzard snowballs outside the Liberty Center Post Office the summer after that storm.

The other day? There was no blast from the past or urge to make snowballs to save. Who would want an icy memory of a blizzard wannabe?

"We were without power for days after the Blizzard of '78. We grabbed more blankets. We put extra logs in the fireplace. People jumped on their snowmobiles and delivered food to neighbors so they didn't starve. It was much different in '78. We didn't even lose power with this storm. I certainly wouldn't call that storm a blizzard. It was more of an annoyance than anything else," said Julie Caldwell, a native of Henry County, where people prepared for the worst after listening to predictions of 20-plus inches of snow and eight-foot deep drifts.

Barb Miller, clerk at the Liberty Center Post Office, lives near Archbold but stayed overnight with a relative in Napoleon as the storm approached. She wanted to make sure she could make it in to work because she can't call off when bad weather puts its stamp on the area.

Liberty Center looked like a ghost town the morning after the blizzard that wasn't. The post office was open, but closed signs dangled on doors of several businesses.

Similar to after-the-storm activities in Waterville, Whitehouse, Maumee, and Perrysburg, dozens of people were out and about at their homes in Liberty Center, shifting piles of snow from driveways and sidewalks into towering mounds of white.

Aleanee Lulfs, 18, and cousin Thomas Case, 17, who live in Liberty Center, scooped snow from the drive at the home of Josh Evans, a friend, and once that was done, they planned to move down the block to shovel snow at their house. Nearby, friends and relatives of Zachary Gramling took turns atop a purple sled pulled by his snowmobile.

Mr. Gramling and girlfriend Ashly Studyvin of Maumee scooted down a Liberty Center street earlier in the morning, trekking to town on the sled from his home north of Colton, seven miles away.

Although the blizzard was a bust, the cold and snow have transformed the landscape into a winter wonderland. Pine branches, looking as though draped with icing, dip and bow in the wind. Rows of icicles glisten.

And over yonder, as Carolina wrens scritch-scratch for seed, bluebirds prowl for a place to nest. A flap of wings, a flash of spring.

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