This Snowmageddon, this Snowpocalypse and all the time I’ve spent indoors staring at the walls and watching my children play in it really had me remembering some of the snowstorms of my past. You see, monster snowstorms are pretty rare around here. The one we had this week was really one for the record books and one I hope isn’t repeated any time soon! I just wanted to share some of the more comical moments I’ve experienced.
Late 1980’s: I owned a 1985 Trans Am. And man was I ever cool! I loved that car so much, I washed and waxed it every weekend! Never had I done that before or since! So, since I was in my early 20’s, I could do anything. Really. I’m sure you remember that time in your life. Anyone who told you that you couldn’t do something would immediately regret telling you that because you set out to prove them wrong and do that very thing. I was living with my Aunt who lived in a really beautiful, posh neighborhood in a particularly hilly part of town. And of course her house was in a valley, which required driving nearly straight up to get to the main roads. Yes, it’s snowing, so what? I thought. I was going to go to the mall. There was no reason I couldn’t. Well, except that Trans Ams had exceptionally low clearance and absolutely no traction. I made it out of the neighborhood via the least hilly part, to the nearest main street, and almost immediately faced a steep hill (71st going to Yale). Somehow I managed to get up the hill, but the stoplight at the top prevented me from getting much further. Green light, I attempted to make it up another smaller hill, but got stuck, spinning wheels. A very kind man helped push my car so I could turn around and go home.
That storm continued raging for the next few hours, until my poor car was literally buried in a snowdrift up to the windows. For me to make it to work, I had to walk up the hills in knee-deep snow and wait for one of the salesmen to come and pick me up. Did I learn my lesson then? Are you serious? Why on earth would I do something like that?
Winter 1991: The Trans Am had been traded for a Grand Am. What is it with me and the ‘Am’ cars? In November of 1990 I moved to LA. Long story, working on a novel. Anyway, when I initially left, I didn’t know how long I’d stay there and only took what I could fit in my car, mostly clothes. Once I decided I’d be there for a while, I convinced my roomie, dear sweet Barbara, a SoCal born and raised gal, to come back with me to pick up more of my stuff. It is a two-day drive in good weather. 1200 miles from LA to Tulsa, straight down I40. The trip back home was uneventful. We loaded up the car and headed west. It was in the day before GPS, smart phones, cell phones or any technology like that. Surely they had radars on the news then, but I didn’t watch it.
Barbara and I set out in my little Grand Am for the two day trek. We stopped in Amarillo for gas and I noticed the temps had dropped quite a bit. Hmm. Oh well, it was just cold and raining, no big deal. We hopped back in and hit the road. It was Barbara’s turn to drive, so I was in the passenger seat when I noticed the ‘raindrops’ were hitting the windshield with a characteristic ‘splat’ that looked more like snowflakes. Crap. We continued on and I noticed the ruts in the pastures were beginning to turn white. I told Barbara my thoughts, but she was ok driving. Until….the snow started to get deep enough there were ruts in the road and the slush was hitting the bottom of the car. I looked over and noticed that Barbara was white-knuckling the steering wheel and asked if she wanted me to take over. With a gasp, she said yes. She was terrified of driving in it! Barbara was quite a trouper. That day we were able to make it to Albuquerque. And only then did we find out we’d driven thru some really bad snow.
March 1999: March equals spring right? Mostly. It was my last trimester in college in Dallas. We’d bought a house and were moving our stuff from Dallas. It’s a straight drive that is normally 4 hrs door to door. No problem. We had my stepdad’s brand new pick-up pulling a trailer w/our furniture in it. Also in the caravan, my BFF’s from school, Charlanne-another SoCal born and raised gal, Joey-a New Yawka, and Anuschka-my Canadian connection. Charlanne and Joey were in his car and Anuschka was in her own vehicle as well. The trip was going well, nothing unusual. Once again, we hadn’t seen any weather reports and so were going ahead not knowing what was coming. Do you sense a pattern here?
About half-way there, we stopped at a Mc Donald’s for a rest stop, and it had started lightly snowing. Charlanne was jumping up and down, so excited to see snow, since she hadn’t seen it often in her life. Me, well, I was less excited, but not too concerned, it was only lightly coming down after all. You know, as I’m writing this and thinking about my life, I never thought I was stupid, or naive, but now I’m not so sure!
As we are driving north, the snow becomes heavier. We were moving right along, no problem, until a genius highway patrolman decided he needed to pullover a Trans Am (what is it about those cars?) in about 6″ of snow, at the bottom of a long steep hill. Guess what, Mr. T.A. couldn’t get his car moving, and then the semi that was behind him got stuck too. Can you imagine? I was so pissed at the idiot cop! As we are trying to make our way up this hill, we’d had to slow down from the stupid cop, our truck started sliding toward a 3ft deep ditch! Holy crap! Every time we tried to move, the tires would spin and we would go more toward the ditch. All I’m thinking is ‘how in the hell am I going to ‘splain this one?” Joey saw that we were having problems and he pulled over ahead of us and got out to help. I had picked up bagels from my favorite bagel shop on our way out of Dallas and put those under the tires for traction! Somehow, between the bagels and Joey jumping up and down on the trailer hitch, the truck got unstuck. We finally made it home. The 4 hr trip had become a 6 hour trip. That night, we all sat outside in our new hot tub with snow all around us. That part, at least, was fun.
Can you believe there’s more? Just one more, I promise.
December 2002: We had only just found out we were pregnant with our daughter when my husband’s grandfather became critically ill. We didn’t know how ill he was until he passed away. He was a very sweet man and I”m honored to have known him for the short time I did. His funeral was December 23. All his life, Quentin had been a farmer. The day of his funeral, we woke up to snow. The big fat, fluffy flakes that pile up quickly. It had already been snowing for a while when we made our way to the church for the service. We were in Okeene, Oklahoma AKA podunk/one flashing red-light town. There are more students in our elementary school than there are residents of Okeene. The joke was that the snow was Quentin’s final practical joke on us because farmers hate snow. They can’t work when it’s snowing.
The drive from Okeene to Tulsa is 2 hours door to door. Not far at all. Unless you’re driving in a blizzard. When we left Okeene headed east, it didn’t take long before we were completely unable to see the road at all. We were in farmland and the snow was blowing sideways and I think coming from Kansas! Visibility was terrible and we were creeping along trying to stay on the road. There were 5 of us in the car. My sister and brother-in-law were in the back seat with our 18 month old son. I was the white-knuckle co-pilot in the front. As we were coming up a short hill, we saw a mini-van that had gone off the road into the center median and the occupants were standing outside the van assessing their situation when behind us, a semi comes barreling along, as if there’s nothing stopping him at all. My husband saw this first, kind of gasped and let off the gas. I couldnt’ figure out what was going on at about the same time the truck literally blew past us and cut in front of us just in time to not hit those people standing in the median. All four of us literally did not breathe for a minute. I had visions of bodies flying and a sudden need to change my pants! Someone was looking out for all of us then.
The trip took us 6 hours. It’s normally 2. The roads were in horrible condition and didn’t get any better until we hit Tulsa. If I hadn’t been pregnant, I’d have had a really stiff drink when I got home!
Sometimes when I think about these situations, I realize a few things.
Number 1: I am so glad I dont’ live up north and have to deal with this junk on a regular basis.
Number 2: Just like my father-in-law has always said, the Lord looks out for little children and dumb animals, you just have to figure out which one you are.
Number 3: I have been traumatized by those snowstorms and will not venture out of my house in snow unless I”m forced to, not just to go to the mall!
Number 4: I am so ready for spring and so sick of snow, I can’t stand it! The ground hog didn’t see shadow and says early spring, I hope he got right this year!
Now, aren’t you glad you haven’t been with me in snowstorms? I hope this finds you warm and dry and free of snow! Now, I”ll go and look at my beach pictures and think warm thoughts!