Sometimes when I get off of work on a Friday evening I like to hop in my car, tune the radio to a ball game, head for a country road and let the sights and sounds wash the stress of a long week away.
I like it best in the spring, when the weather is just starting to turn, the Cincinnati Reds are on the radio, and hope (at least for a few weeks) springs eternal again.
Summer and fall are fine, too. Ideally, my windows are rolled down, and if I’m lucky I might catch a sunset before I point my car toward home.
Sometimes I’ll run home and grab my wife to ride along with me, but most of the time I prefer just myself, the radio and Mother Nature as I unwind for a few minutes.
Winter is not so great. It’s too cold to roll the windows down and it’s too dark to take in the scenery.
But still, if the mood strikes, I will tune to one of the local radio channels and take in a bit of a basketball game before I head home on a Friday.
Such was the case a couple winters ago. It was snowing and blustery that evening, there was a high school basketball game on the radio that I was interested in, so I headed for the country to listen to part of the game and take in some of nature’s beauty.
It was a pretty evening – one of those where snow is stuck to the tree limbs and glistens with any light – and the roads were in fairly decent shape. Mother Nature was howling outside my car, but it was warm inside and early on I had run across a couple places where the snow was drifted across the road. But Mother Nature can be vengeful, and maybe she decided to teach me a lesson since I was probably paying more attention to the game than to her.
I was on a flat section of road, having no driving issues whatsoever, but forgot about the part of the road where it started on a slight downhill incline. As soon as the flat part ended and my headlights shone on the downhill incline, I knew I was in trouble – because I could see nothing but white, and it looked deep. I had been driving in a wooded area where I didn’t notice how hard the wind was blowing. But where the downhill slope started, the trees gave way to open fields on both sides of the road, and the side that the wind and snow were coming from stood taller than the road.
I was going slow, but in the blink of an eye I had to decide whether to plow ahead or hit the brakes. I hit the brakes. It was the right decision, but it was too late. Even though I came to a stop a few feet later, my front wheels were buried in a drift. Knowing it was likely useless, I threw the old Malibu into reverse anyway and tried to back out a couple times. I was right. It was no use. I was stuck and needed help.
There was a house nearby, but nobody was home, and there were no other houses reasonably close. To top it off, I had dressed nicer than usual that day and my dress shoes told me that walking any distance would not be wise. And besides, I could not leave my car in the middle of the road.
I knew my wife and kids were not at home, and as I sat there and pondered what to do, the snow around my car was getting deeper by the seconds. So I started to think about nearby friends with a four-wheel drive pickup truck.
The first one I called, let’s call him John, answered on the second ring. I explained my predicament, and the only question he asked was what road I was on. “I’ll be there quick as I can,” he said.
Before long I saw John’s pickup truck headed up the road. He had one of his sons with him and after they surveyed the situation, they drove into the ditch and around my car, told me to stay inside, hooked onto the back end of my car, and pulled me out in a flash.
Who knows how long I would have sat there without their help.
It was a nasty night, and I have no clue what other plans the two of them had that night or what they might have been doing when I called. But whatever it was, they dropped it all to lend me a hand.
Thanks, my friends. It has not been forgotten.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or firstname.lastname@example.org.