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?"