More on “Snow Is Beautiful, But…”

While in junior college, I was living in Cumberland, Maryland. A very snowy place. I didn’t have my driver’s license yet–that’s a story for another time–and frequently mooched rides with friends and girls I wished were girlfriends.

I’ll never forget the night–I don’t recall the time, but the fact this event took place at night is important–when I was riding back from somewhere to my parents’ house. Keith’s car was slipping all over the street, but it wasn’t until I said something about it that he admitted he liked to make his car slide on snow and ice. I grant you he had his car as perfectly under control as anyone could under those circumstances, but I never rode with him again in bad weather.

I don’t know if he’s still alive or not.

No, that’s not the snow story I told you on Sunday that I would talk about today. But it should help to give you a better understanding of just how cautious I feel when the roads are snowy and/or icy. Fortunately, Kathleen agrees totally.

Here’s the the way the story has worked out.

Kathleen’s father had been in bad health for a number of years. Although he was a likable fellow when she and I married twelve years ago, he had become a grumpier and grumpier old man, plagued by pain and easily irritated.

We knew that J. A.’s  (he only has initials and goes by “JA” as if his name was “Jay”) health was declining and my mother-in-law, Anna, felt the end was getting close. Although as a former nurse she had a good understanding of health issues, she didn’t have a God’s-eye-view of JA’s actual condition, though. When he suffered a stroke in November, his problems proved more complex than the stroke itself.

Although he was soon moved from the hospital to a rehab facility, he didn’t make any effort to cooperate with the therapists. He seemed to have given up. With the encouragement of the doctors, who agreed with Anna that JA would die soon, she moved him to a hospice location.

Although he survived Christmas, he continued to decline.

Kathleen had already planned a trip to visit her mom near the end of January, and her plane tickets were unchangeable.  We were in a real quandary. We had always intended to drive to Memphis when the time came, but a major snow storm was expected this past Friday.

JA passed away away early last Thursday morning. We’d thought maybe we could still drive if we got away from the east coast that day, but we learned that Memphis was already getting bad weather. We wouldn’t be able to drive until this past Monday at the earliest.

But Kathleen was still scheduled to fly out today. Rather than make me face the possibility of driving the whole way back by myself, we thought the best solution was for her to go ahead and fly, extend her stay, and pay the $200 fee to reschedule her return flight. Fortunately, a very understanding Delta agent didn’t charge her for the change.

No, this snow wasn’t convenient. Although it necessitated quite a change in our plans, we believe things have worked out for the best. But it sure had us making and remaking tentative plans until JA’s actual death permitted us to make the final decision.

I promise to let the subject of snow thaw out and evaporate now.

Do you have a story of a time when snow or some other weather problem has changed your plans drastically? How about leaving a comment?


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Best regards,

4 thoughts on “More on “Snow Is Beautiful, But…”

  1. I have a doozy but it’s novella length. I almost never let weather get in my way. I’ve hitch-hiked all over the country in the 70’s in every type of weather you can imagine. A more tolerable length story would be the time I was planning to go to Texas by thumb. We were in the midst of an Indian summer, sometime in early February. It was actually warm in Cambridge. I told a friend I was going to Texas and had no idea she was in love with me. She showed up at my house the night before with her suitcases expecting that I take her along. Impossible! I begged off and went to bed planning to leave in the morning in shorts. After I woke up and packed I looked out the window the Earth was covered with snow! And I’m hitch-hiking to Texas. I went, as planned, with all my books in a duffle bag and some clothes.
    When I got to Virginia off of I-81 it was getting very cold and almost dark. Some young guy my age picked me up and took me to his home. Him mom was a regular June Cleaver and they fed me, gave me a warm bed and he even took me out to meet his girlfriends. The next morning after breakfast she drove me back to the freeway. It took a while to catch a ride in the sleet but some guy picked me up and took me to the Tennessee border. From there I got a ride to the edge of Knoxville. I stood under an overpass for 24 hours with my thumb out but no ride. I went into a local cafe on the Freeway and a country girl said she had seen me in the morning and could imaging I was freezing. I said I needed to sleep. She said that out back of the cafe, up the hill, there was a house that belonged to her grandmother and if I went there she’d take me in. So I downed my coffee and climbed up this slippery, wet, dark ridge and saw a shack. It was the only one so I tapped on the door. This old lady opens the door and I say my name and the name of the girl and she smiled and opened the door wide. It was a one-room shack with a pot-bellied stove in the middle of the room and about 8 small children camped out on the floor around it. I told her I thought it best I not go in but maybe if I could sleep in one of the derelict cars in the yard I would be fine. She said it was fine and closed the door. I went to the biggest car in the group and opened the door but it was already occupied by a young couple I imagine were as surprised and I. They were adding to the group of kids on the floor I suppose. SO I went to a pick-up truck and it was empty. I threw my bag on the floor and curled up on the seat and went to sleep. Next morning, I still had no luck going west toward Memphis so I decided to go south and climbed up on the overpass and the first car that passed picked me up and we headed for Florida. We drove straight through and he left me off near a sign that said Sewanee River. I sang that song and was feeling dirty and hungry so I went to a small motel I saw down the road. A girl was tending the place, it was late and I told her I needed a shower. She said it belonged to her uncle but would give me a room for free if I could leave early. I took two showers before I slept and I headed out on a sunny morning clean and refreshed headed towards Pensacola. Come carneys picked me up with what I was told later was a stolen car. We went through New Orleans and it was Mardi-Gras! we didn’t stay long and they were in a hurry to get to Mexico and Houston was on the way so they took me all the way. In all it took me 6 days to get there. But I had fun and there were several other adventures I did not include in this narrative simply because it would take too long.
    Needless to say, weather does not get in my way.


  2. I am actually trying to formulate the basis for my first book now. I am not much on fiction so anything I wrote will be semi-autobiographical. It may contain various characters that all contain some of my personal feelings or adventures. I’m working on it. As I am a science aficionado as well as a history buff I think this book will contain many things gleaned from those studies, things I think are important or memorable. Of course, it would include some poetry. Maybe even recipes. Right now I spend my time rehearsing in my head an introduction… something memorable. As I begin to commit this to paper I would like to send you some of it for any personal observations. Obviously you have much more experience than I do and could perhaps point out things I lack.
    As for that story, some of the more interesting episodes were left out for time. I have seen a lot of things, believe me.


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