03 February, 2013

A Winter's Tale, or "Everyone Has a Story"

On Thursday of this week, there was a snowstorm. Big surprise, it's winter: This is the Midwest.

On Thursday of this week, there was a major pile-up on a major interstate, due to the storm.

On Thursday of this week, it took me over two hours to get home from work - a drive that usually takes 45-50 minutes. 

I know, everyone has their story of the big storm from "that" winter. And to be honest, the thing that makes one of these stories any good is if you were there. This is not a story like that. I've been in worse storms, if I want to tell a storm story!

But during my massive drive home, which included Interstate, State highway through a business district, State highway through the country, and backroads in the hills, there was just one incident that sort of reminded me that everyone is in the same boat.

It was in the hilly section. I'd been driving long, and probably about 5 minutes from home. I was ready to feel the relief!

The second to last street before home is hilly. I make a left turn, down two small hills, down a longer slope with an even longer rise at the end before it almost levels and I make the final left turn onto the street to home.

(with me so far? It's a straight road, but for the vertical curves including one steep descent with a steeper rise.)

I turn onto this road, and see a car with flashers pulled to the side just before the steep hill, and see the reflections on the trees indicating more such lights at the base of the steep hill.

Upon asking, the woman in the first car says she's fine, but isn't sure what's happening at the base of the hill and wants to be sure the TWO cars down there can go before she continues. Since I was out of my car already, I just started walking toward the hill to find out. A guy met me at the top of the slope, walking up from the (what I assumed was an) accident.

This guy recognized me as living in the area. (who knew!) He said that it wasn't an accident, and asked if I have 4WD. I do not. He said, "Well, without it I don't think anyone will make it up that hill" (on the steeper side).

Turns out, his girlfriend's car couldn't make it up the hill, so he brought his 4WD pick-up out to try to push her up the slope, but her wheels wouldn't grab and she ended up pushing them both back to the bottom of the hill. But everyone was fine, and they were working on it.

I don't know why I love this. The woman with her flashers, waiting patiently in the snow to see what's up with the icy hill. The guy who went out in the storm to try to push his girlfriend's car up the icy hill. The fact that the hill was so icy that my normal route was impassable, the camaraderie with people whose names I don't even know ...maybe it's just the fact that it had been such a long drive and I was so close to home ...

All these hilly roads connect up. I was able to back up and go around another way and get home 15 minutes later.

But I do think that next time I meet people in these types of situations, I will introduce myself. It would be nice to know the names of these neighbors I don't know!

What's your "winter storm story?"

14 comments:

  1. Glad you got home ok! Hm... I've got a few winter storm stories, but my favorite involves getting stuck in a ditch and pulled out by a friend, who I then asked to drive me and my car home (about a 20 minute drive). We made it within two blocks of my house, when we saw my sister's car stopped on the side of the road ahead of us. My mother and sister were standing on the curb, looking at the car (it was stuck). We decided to pull over to help, couldn't stop, slid on the ice, and rear-ended my sister's car. I remember quite vividly pounding on the dashboard yelling "Stop!!!!!" and seeing my sister bursting into preemptive tears as she realized what was about to happen. It was all very "slo-mo." :)

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    1. Oh, that's bad. This was just long, not outrageous. Very, very slow driving is sometimes the best thing.

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  2. I'm glad you were able to get home safely, even if it took a while. I actually don't really have a winter storm story. I was in a blizzard when I was a baby and we were surprised with sleet a couple days ago, but it wasn't bad. Of course, I do live in the south. But regular storms with thunder and lightening and stuff? I have far too many of those.

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    1. The coolest "storm" I ever saw was driving across Texas at night, and seeing a heat-lightning show off on the horizon. So impressive.

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  3. I have several storm stories. One involved spinning twice on the road before finally sliding into a ditch. Kirsten was in the car with me and less than a week old. It was about -10 out and we were stuck. Another involves sliding off an embankment with my kids in the car. And yet another was when an ice storm had weighed down the trees to the point that they could not withstand the weight and cam crashing through my windshield as I was driving. Once again, with my very small children in the car.

    Have I ever mentioned to you that I HATE winter?

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    1. I've never hated winter. Not a huge fan of driving in this stuff now that I'm all growed-up, but in general, winter is okay for me.

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  4. It doesn't snow where I live in the land of Oz

    However, when I did work experience in Germany, we only had bicycles to get to work. It was only below 0 deg C most days in Jan and Feb

    But none with a Car

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    1. Wow. I would not like that. Biking in freezing weather? Yeah. You can keep it!

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  5. I am in my winter story. It just won't stop snowing and right after breakfast I have to go pit my wits against the driveway with a snow shovel.

    Hmmm, the most 'fun' the husband and I ever had was coming back from work, in the middle of the night only to find that the end of our road had drifted shut, into a one car wide tunnel. As we were driving through the wind kicked up and everything was white. We couldn't even see the hood of the car. Nothing. As blank as a sheet of paper. I asked Scott how he was still driving and he said from the feel of the car, but we couldn't just stop or we might get stuck. Needless to say when we did make it home I was pretty jacked up on adrenaline.

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    1. That's impressive! Driving by feel? I'd probably just stop, get buried, and freeze to death.

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  6. Being from jersey, we usually get one good storm a year. The one that shuts everything down. Whenever that happens, me and the family watch Stephen King's Storm of the Century, light a fire and drink hot cocoa.

    Hugs!

    Valerie

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    1. You've already had one this winter, haven't you? Now that they've started naming winter storms, do you grow attached? I think it's really strange...and all fictional character names!

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  7. Love this post. It's nice to know people do have the ability to be neighborly, even in bad situations.

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    1. I thought so too. There's a lot of meanness, but with all things equal, people really step up.

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I enjoy a good debate. Feel free to shake things up. Tell me I'm wrong. Ask me why I have such a weird opinion. ...or, just laugh and tell how this relates to you and your life.