Letters to Holly

Saturday, February 13

News Action Alert Weather Central Update Bulletin

The snow forecast came in relatively late. I sent an email to Your Sister Friday morning and told her to send me a grocery list, and she acknowledged it. I warned the boss. We're supposed to be out Monday for President's Day, and we're already behind on the magazine. She's a bit anxious about getting it out now. Of course, our printer is in Northern Virginia, and they're closed due to snow anyway.

When the snow began to fall at the office around 2, I emailed and called Your Sister. I needed confirmation that it was snowing at home before I could leave. The boss was nervous about losing more time to bad weather. She was unwilling to concede another shutdown snowfall.

About 4 pm, Your Sis called to say the roads were getting bad, and out the door I went. Things were fine for the first 15 minutes, then the roads and sky merged into gray. The roads became slick, and dumb people were driving. Some were too slow; some, driving white cars, didn't use headlights. I noticed a disturbing trend in 4x4 drivers to drive as if the trucks were fragile. They were slow, forcing all us behind them to lose traction as we slowed. Before I made it into town, Your Sis called to say she was going to the grocery store. I had told her earlier that I would go as I came into town, and this displeased me greatly. We now had two vehicles in the winter junk an hour after she told me to come home. When I made our city limits, I called her to confirm she was heading home. She was. I expected to meet her at the house within five minutes.

The slippery roads were populated by more stupid truck drivers through the hamlet. I went the back way to the house, leaving the highway for what I hoped was a clearer road than the usual way. I knew she was going this route too, and I wondered if I was driving in her tire tracks. I slid a few times before turning onto our neighborhood road, the one with the big hill. We had taken this way to avoid that hill, but we still had the beginning of our street to worry about.

As I approached that road, I again saw the small sedan parked at the intersection of those roads. It had been there since the second snowstorm last weekend. To avoid sliding into it, I veered left. It would give me a straighter route up our road's hill. Unfortunately, veering left took me very left, and I had no control. I slid past the road and down the big hill. I knew I couldn't turn around in the road without risking blocking both lanes. I aimed for the first driveway, and that was when the tires lost traction completely. I crunched into the old ice bank formed from the first snowstorm, and I couldn't move the car. My front end was off the ground. If not for that bank, I would have taken out a telephone pole and hedges. I called Your Sister and got no answer. Not surprising. Her phone is horrible. I called the home line and got nothing. I know she often goes to the bathroom when she arrives home. So I left messages. Angry messages.

As luck would have it, the very first person to come by my stuck car was the state trooper who is also our next-door neighbor. He was able to go back to his house and get shovels. While waiting for him, I went to the house whose driveway I was now blocking and asked for the snow shovel. I got it and started hacking at the ice bank. I again called Your Sis and got nothing. When the trooper returned, he was in his truck, armed with shovels. His wife was riding shotgun. She called her kids at home to peek at our driveway and confirmed Your Sister's car was there. So she wasn't stuck, I thought, she just won't answer the phone.

We dug the car out, and I drove down the hill, turning around to go back up with a running start and hopefully back home. That was easier than driving up our road's hill, and I again slid all over the place before pulling into my roadside parking space in front of our house. I turned off the car, filled with nerves and anger, and called Your Sister again. She answered, and I told her I was home and to check her messages. She said she had called back repeatedly and left messages. I got into the house, and that's when she told me she had gotten stuck (on Holly Road, oddly). She used a bag of cat litter to give her car traction and managed to force her car back onto the road despite no help from those living inside the closest house which just happened to be our other next-door neighbors. She had beaten me home by a few minutes, but her car slid down the driveway before she could reign it in. It's now blocked by bricks.

Today we shoveled and swept. Another neighbor was stuck on a similar ice bank, and neither of us could free it. It stuck atop a bank with each of the right wheels completely off the ground. We left it for the day. When we saw the trooper neighbor come home, Your Sis and I carried leftover cocoa to him in gratitude.

Later in the afternoon, we formally sat down to start the medieval comic. She gave me her page ideas, and I helped shape them into a linear story, and we hashed out a comic. I'll thumbnail the book over this three-day weekend. It might become four day if the forecast snowstorm hits Sunday night. She spent most of the evening working on the comic script, despite my suggestions that she wait until further in the process to nail that down. But I won't push her on this; I know she over-prepares.

No comments: