March. It’s important to read that first part of yesterday’s date, because we set some records that I hope will remain unsurpassed for at least a few years.
I actually took my students out to recess at 10 am yesterday and let them run across the playground to let off a little excess energy and excitement. Many had heard the word “snow” at the breakfast table and they were eagerly awaiting a return of the white blanket we had seen on Tuesday. We only stayed outside for about five minutes before it starting sprinkling.
After lunch the snow started falling…and falling…and falling. By 1:00 pm I was a little concerned. By 1:30 there was talk of going home. We started packing up and put all the students together in front of a movie, to await parents. They soon started drifting in.
At 2:00 our principal started letting those of us with longer commutes go home. I left at 2:15.
Actually getting home was a bit of an adventure. Let me just tell those of you who live in “snow country” that southeastern Oklahoma is totally unprepared for six inches of snow in March! I’ve lived in Iowa and I know about snow plows and salt and long-term preparation. I’ve visited Vermont in the winter and I’ve witnessed people “going about their business” despite an 8” snowfall. However, most of the people in our area drive in the snow once, maybe once, a year. What usually happens is that we get a massive ice storm late in the spring and everyone is forced to stay home for a day or two. We know about ice. We are afraid of ice. I think snow is much more deceptive and people don’t drive as cautiously in it because it doesn’t seem as threatening.
Road preparation or clearance or whatever they call it around here is done with sand, and only the main roads are cleared. Anything else is up to the local traffic. If you live on a busy street you might be lucky and have a lot of trucks and four-wheel drive vehicles at least clear some ruts for you! So my adventure began with our parking lot. It’s at a 45 degree angle and the road behind us was recently re-paved, setting it up about four inches higher than before. So…I rolled down the incline, hit the curb, and stopped, wheels spun, and I tried it again. Couldn’t go forward. One more time. Managed to ease forward, turned the car to an angle of sorts and tried again. This time I managed to pop over the curb and onto the road.
I kept to the main street of town and drove out to the highway. There were two cars already off in the ditch. I drove slowly down the access road to the next stop light, which is also the site of a huge highway improvement project and the beginning of two miles of construction work. The driver in front of me pulled out the moment he saw the green light and was immediately confronted by three cars on the highway that couldn’t stop for the red light. He missed those by inches. Then he pulled out ahead of me and in just seconds I could no longer see the outline of his car in the falling snow. I inched forward and drove about 30 miles an hour (I’m guessing because I don’t have a speedometer). Anyway, about 100 yards down the road I passed him…he was in the ditch.
I drove through the construction zone, then fifteen miles of highway to Caddo. I wasn’t ever afraid of the road conditions. It was slushy most of the way, with only a few patches of ice. I did find that in some places my car actually hit piled up ice ridges because Mustangs aren’t exactly built for wild weather! However, what frightened me a couple of times was the driving of other people. I was passed by a few speeding trucks. Drivers in front of me stopped suddenly. Another one veered off the road. Most problems were caused by speed or erratic turning.
I had one close encounter on the state road that leads to our house. It gets far less travel so there were more icy patches. A large truck passed me, but that was fine because I didn’t want him to have to stop behind me when I made my turn to our driveway. I saw him coming around and was prepared for the spray from his wheels. However, just seconds after he passed, an oncoming truck hit a puddle of slush with his big dual wheels and literally covered my car with snow! I couldn’t see anything at all and it startled me. Thank goodness my wipers were on automatic and cleared the windshield before I had a chance to panic.
I turned off onto our drive and up the incline to the cattle guard. That’s where my driving came to a halt. The car simply wouldn’t go up the icy drive. I tried three times, but on the last try the tires spun sideways and I was afraid I’d end up in the ditch. I just turned it off, set the brake, and got out. I walked the last quarter mile to the house. I’ve always wanted to tell my grandchildren “I had to walk five miles uphill in the snow.” Well, it wasn’t five miles, but it may be by the time I tell the story when I’m eighty! J
Robert didn’t even try to come home. The snow was so bad where he was that he just stayed in a motel. He said even getting over to the motel was an adventure that included him and another man getting out and pushing a woman’s car out of the way. He wasn’t sure if he would be able to go to work today.
I’m off today for a scheduled “snow day”. Yes, more irony.
(Noon- The satellite has thawed and we got the car moved!)
Stay safe and warm, wherever you are!!