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Thursday, December 4, 2014

That Time I Ditched The Car

A number of years ago, back when I was invincible, I felt it important that I drive from one tiny town to another during a blizzard.

Why would I do such a thing?  Well, one, there was the invincibility thing I had going on and two, there were beers with a friend waiting!

Do they have blizzards where you are? They don’t? Blizzards are a combination of cold temperatures, snow pushed from one serpentine drift to another, and yet more snow coming down, sometimes horizontally.

Consider it a test of your fortitude, your driving skills, your imagination, and your intelligence.

Can you handle the stress of not seeing more than a couple feet in front of you?

Can you keep the car on the road?

Can you see the road? Can you see the exit?

What in the world are you doing out in a blizzard, anyway?

All of your abilities will be tested – some of them just by getting in the car in the first place.

Believe me when I tell you that the majority of the time there’s no where you need to go during a blizzard except to the closet for another blanket.

Or perhaps to the fridge.

But like I said: I used to be invincible.

I was invincible right up to two miles outside of town, when my ’74 Ford LTD, a car you and seven of your best friends could sit in easily, slid, ever so slowly, off the side of the road and sideways into a shallow ditch.


Now, when you find yourself with your tail pipe in the snow, you also find yourself seeing the beauty in what you should’ve seen earlier and you turn everything off and sit in the cold, gray silence.  You consider the possibility that you may be a bit slow on the uptake and that those closest to you, for some reason, have been reluctant to say so.

You think about how the sun is setting and how there’s a friend waiting just eight miles away.

This is sometimes the part in the story where you proceed to read of the writer’s slow and painful demise, how they found her body, the way her last words were recorded on the interior of the car in lipstick.

Either that or it’s the part where a large red pick-up comes down this same deserted county road and how four large, corn-fed Wisconsin boys in seed-and-feed caps pull over, jump out in jeans and sweatshirts and head towards your car.

“Ma’am?” says the biggest one, holding his arms out.

Yes, yes, please! I open my car door and hold my arms up for Farm Boy #1 and he lifts me, easily, out of the car and out of the ditch, and places me inside the cab of the truck.

My feet never touch the ground.

He shuts the door, and Farm Boys One through Four step down into the ditch, each of them taking a corner of my car. They lift the LTD as if it is hollow, step carefully up the shallow ditch, and place the car back on the road.

And then they refuse to take my money.

And I drive on to Paula’s house, where we drink beer, play Scrabble, and go out for breakfast in the morning.

I just love Wisconsin. If you’re going to slide off the road, I suggest you do it there.


Marty Damon said...

Let's hear it for farm boys, bless their hearts.

I remember driving a bureau to our daughter at Northeastern through a snowstorm so bad that they closed the Mass Pike rest areas. Even in our forties we were apparently still convinced of our immortality.

vanilla said...

There is a hint within your tale that you have outgrown such foolishness. I am happy for that, and for you.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari Om
Staying in this winter then? But what will fuel your adventure stories of the future??? (please let the answer not be beer... or limes...) YAM xx

joeh said...

When you are a guy, those farm boys just wave and yell out "That's gotta suck dude" as they motor on by.

If it is a blizzard, STAY HOME!!

Great story. It is good to be invincible.

Dawn@Lighten Up! said...

I don't know how such a snowy story could warm my heart so quickly. Are you sure you weren't in Ohio? I think I went to high school with those boys. :)

Anonymous said...

I did the 'blizzard drive' once in my youth. While I made it safely it also taught me a valuable lesson...I never did it again. I might consider it if I could hire a truck load of sturdy farm lads to follow me around.

Elephant's Child said...

The secret to invincibility is farm boys. I wish I had known...

Leenie B said...

God bless the farm boys in feed caps! Saved my fool bacon more than once. I've also been pushed out of a snow bank by a minivan full of kids and a mom on their way to school. And a compact car full of college students just as dufus as I was about driving in a blizzard. Cause, hey, we're in Idaho. If we don't go out in a blizzard once in a while we just haven't stared death in the face. I try not to do that anymore.

Rosemary Nickerson said...

...and then there was the time Hubby pushed and pulled, to no avail, to extricate a neighbour-lady's car from the blizzardy ditch, on his way to work. She had been trying to get her daughter to school. She had been late getting started. Hubby blushed and then laughed out loud when she crawled into his back seat, in her silk house coat and sexy lady slippers! The whole neighbourhood remembers this one.

jenny_o said...

I have a feeling those sturdy lads would have materialized for a pretty lady no matter where you ditched the car. Which is pretty much what joeh said, but he said it better :)

Joanne Noragon said...

Mom took dad to work one day, to have the car for the day. She got back late, barely before we left for school. She'd had a flat and been assisted in changing the tire by a bunch of rubber workers on their way to work. "Thank goodness I'm home!" she opened her coat to reveal only her thin VanRalte nightgown. "They never knew."

Linda O'Connell said...

Were those lads a hallucination or did they really lift you up? I did get stuck in a blizzard on a mountain road in Alaska. Saved by a can of Coke. True story.

Catalyst/Taylor said...

When my son was born, he and his mother were 300 miles away. I got word from the hospital about 10 o'clock at night that my wife had gone into labor. The nurse said the little woman had cautioned me not to start out until morning. Okay, I said. And jumped into the car and drove those 300 miles, through the night and through a North Dakota blizzard to rush to my little woman's side. When I got there I found out the baby had been born hours before.

Suffice it to say, that was my first wife.

River said...

cClearly you didn't die in that blizzard, so I'm guessing you happily made the acquaintance of four Wisconsin farm boys.

Merlesworld said...

Having never experienced a blizzard but if we ever had one I would maybe open a window and take a photo that would be about it.

Daisy said...

God bless those corn-fed Wisconsin boys! :-)

goatman said...

Never stuck in the snow; stuck in the sand once.