Snowed in


Melissa Stagnaro

I knew I was in trouble when I looked out my friend Julie’s kitchen window on Sunday night, and saw a traffic jam of sorts on the stretch of County Road 3 we Tyner folk refer to as Nicholson’s Hill.

Julie and her husband Lyndon live at the top of that hill, and from our vantage point, we had clear view of the havoc Mother Nature was wreaking on the roads. More than one vehicle was in the ditch after failing to make it up the incline, and a couple of more dotted the opposite ditch, having unsuccessfully navigated the downward slope. Still more vehicles -trucks, mostly – were engaged in trying to rectify the situation.

It was about 6:30, and I’d been at the Gates’ for an hour or so. (I find it hard to resist a dinner invitation to their abode, since they are both culinary wizards – LJ with his smoker, and Jules with her ability to whip up basically anything from a few simple ingredients.)

I glanced at my half-eaten curry chicken salad and then back to the spectacle downhill and the chicken won. After all, I thought, I’d be better off waiting for the plow to make another swing by then to head out in the current conditions.

By 8, I was anxious to get on the road. Particularly when I stepped outside to find a full six inches of heavy wet snow on my car, all of which had fallen in the brief time I’d been inside. It briefly crossed my mind that I’d be lucky to get out of the driveway at all, let alone home, but I quickly shooed away that notion.

A few moments later, as I ineffectually spun my tires trying to crest the hill, I was wishing I paid more heed to that startling bit of insight. Never one to give up easily, I tried a few more times before deciding it was time for an alternate approach.

Well, more of a retreat, actually. I figured my best bet was to back down slowly and return to the driveway from whence I came.

It didn’t exactly work out as I planned. The backing down part went smoothly, but when it came time to actually turn into the Gates’ drive, I found myself with zero purchase and not enough forward momentum to get the job done.

Just as I prepared to call in the cavalry (i.e. Julie & LJ to push my sorry behind back into their driveway), I noticed a set of headlights behind me. Crap, I thought, there is no way this guy is going to be able to get by me.

But, as it turns out, the driver in question wasn’t approaching my car in order to berate me for blocking basically the entire roadway, but rather to offer his assistance.

I didn’t recognize this knight in slush-covered armor, but he knew me.

“You’re Melissa, right?” he asked, inquiring politely about my family before offering his services to help me back into the aforementioned driveway.

I had a chance to express my gratitude for his kindness, but just barely, before he drove off into the night in his four wheel drive. (Thank you, Eric!)

It still took Julie, LJ and I a few attempts (and some shoveling) in order to get my Avenger the rest of the way up the driveway. By the time she was safely parked, I decided to take them up on the offer of their couch, figuring that, depending on road conditions, I could either run home in the morning or commute to work from there.

But, of course, I didn’t have to worry about that, thanks to the State of Emergency our county chairman declared. Oh, how I love a good road closure. Most days my 26-mile roundtrip commute to and from the Evening Sun newsroom is an annoyance, but yesterday it was a God send. Because I was the only ES reporter to get a full snow day as a result.

And since I was still snowed in at the Gates’- who have two Middle-school age boys, it truly was a snow day. I spent the day baking cookies, playing in the snow (of which they got 21” or so) and watching movies. All in all, definitely a good time.

Sure, there was lots of snow removal, too, but I managed to avoid the worst of it. (I think LJ’s name may actually be “Fred.”)

By the time I returned to my own house, around 5:30 or so, I was pretty tuckered out. I fully expected to find plenty of snow with my name on it, but to my great surprise and relief, one of our neighbors – Jim Pollard – had already done the honors with his tractor and plow. (Thank you so much, Jim!) The pops did a fair share of shoveling, too. Let’s hope he’s none the worse for wear because of the experience. We did get over 24″ in our neck of Smithville Center, a.k.a. Southwest Tyner.

Thank you, Mother Nature, for the lovely snow day! As for your efforts to give me a second day off in a row – by saddling me with a fever, sore throat, congestion and all the other fixings for a sick day – not so much. I’d rather pass.

Follow me on Twitter … @evesunmelissa.