Yesterday was a rare treat for me. I got a snow day! As I got ready for my 45-minute trek to downtown Nashville yesterday for another day and another dollar, I was grumbling and mumbling to myself about being the only one in my house that had to get out. About 15 minutes from the house, a mix of sleet and snow began to fall. "No worries," I thought, "I'll just go on in to the office and leave a little early." I'm rather stingy with my allotment of days off and I hated to burn one of them if I didn't have to.
I made my way in to work with no problems at all, but the snow was definitely falling more heavily. I worked at my desk with one eye on my work and the other on the weather outside. At 10:30, we were all told to go home and to be safe. Yes!!! Thank you!!!
Although the roads were merely wet, traffic crawled along on the interstate at about 10 mph. You see, we don't get much snow around here and there are many many many who go into a panic when they see bits of white fluff falling from the sky. (See The White Death posted by Knitty Bits.) We have been told about a great terror often seen in the north called Black Ice. Some of us think that it is an invisible substance that will leap out to cause death and destruction if we dare to drive over 10 mph.
Here's what I get for all my snarky remarks (you'd think I should know better):
I drove home and didn't encounted any slick roads until I was about 5 miles from home. I live about 5 miles back a narrow, winding, hilly road, with creeks, steep dropoffs, and deep ditches along the sides of the road. Those of us who have lived in these parts for many years have learned to respect The Hill -- an extremely steep, winding hill that levels out in a hairpin curve with a creek on the other side. Whenever there is ice and snow present, wise drivers stop before the plummet down The Hill and test it out before gingerly inching down. One cannot see to the bottom of The Hill to determine the conditions, so, once the descent is begun, there is no turning back.
Yesterday, there was a large pickup truck in front of me, carrying a heavy load of a camo 4-wheeler and some other equipment that I could not see about to make the descent. The driver (wearing a confederate flag ball cap) got out, put chains on the tires while I rolled my eyes, and began the downward journey at about 1 mph, stopping completely every 6 inches. Chains? Was he serious? I mean, we only had about 1 inch of snow at that point, and the county always salts The Hill, so there's usually some traction to be found. I followed along as he rolled forward until he arrived at the steepest part of The Hill where he stopped completely and inched about a foot at a time to the left side of the road so that he could drive with 2 wheels off of the road. Again I thought, "You have to be kidding me!" We had both just been passed by a truck coming up The Hill the other way. How bad could it be? Isn't getting up a slick hill harder than going down? Apparently not. . .
Once the truck made it down The Hill and around the hairpin curve, I noticed that he was stopped and was watching me. "OK, I'll show him how this is done," I thought. I slowly moved forward and very soon found the spot where he had encountered his challenge. Yikes! I was sliding in super slo-mo toward a deep, gravely, axle-scraping, car crunchin ditch and all I could do was hold my breath. I stopped short of certain disaster and tried to make it to the other side of the road, as the object of my previous ridicule had done. Every time I would make a little progress, I would then start sliding toward the yawning mouth of death on the other side of the road. After this back and forth battle that seemed to go on for hours (while the truck driver before me and 2 drivers behind me watched), I stopped, took a deep breath and prayed "God, please get me down this hill. Or at least let me go off the road over there, and not end up in this ditch." I swear to you that, after that prayer, I moved forward, slipped only a little, and was able to make the rest of the trip down.
The truck driver, as it turns out, was quite a gentleman -- and had a lovely Italian accent -- quite a nice surprise in the backwoods of Tennessee. He stopped me once we were on a level part of the road and asked me about my car. He told me that he was sure I was headed for the ditch. He had been waiting and watching to see if I needed help -- a guardian angel in camo and a confederate flag cap.
And, yes, there is knitting at the end of this story. I got home to my family, collapsed on the couch, and finished my alpaca/wool/bamboo scarf: