Friday, December 3, 2010
Do you remember Christmas 2002? About this time in December I was belting out tunes....you know the ones, "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas" and "let it snow let it snow let it snow" I should have paid more attention to the line that says "and since we've no place to go" because, in fact, I had someplace to go! It was my first Christmas, all grown up away from home, working my first real job. On December 23, I was the only uniformed staff working the morning, but the ranger came on duty at one. According to all the weather forecasts, precipitation would begin around 5, teh time I was originally scheduled to get off. So being the astute person I am, I called my boss and got permission to leave whenever the ranger came on, which should have put me on my parents doorstep at teh first snowflakes began to fall and the promise of a white Christmas would become reality. Well...the best laid plans of mice and men.....weather forecasting is not an exact science as was demonstrated that day. Have you ever driven Highway 65 from Springfield to Conway, AR? Normally I LOVED this drive, it was beautiful and I would go especially slow near the Buffalo River to get marvel at God's creation. You see, sometimes we get exactly what we ask for, only to realize it wasn't exactly what we wanted. I left work amidst a nice yucky drizzle. But hey, it was near 40 degrees, still should make it to my parents. I could, 8 years later, tell you the exact spot where ice started forming on the roads. For those of you that have never driven Hwy 65, take note that it is in the beautiful, curvy, hilly roads of Arkansas. And yes, as I reached those beautiful hilly curves, ICE! Wait it is only a little after 2, not supposed to be snowing yet! Well, lets just say conditions deteriorated....and not slowly either. My bounding and excitement over a white Christmas was turning into white knuckles gripping the steering wheel, praying the other drivers wouldn't lose control and hit me too. About 5 o'clock (and oh, still only about halfway to Missouri) I was worrying my car was going to get stuck from the sheer depth of the snow and I came across the Buffalo River Motel. Now, I admit I am in love with the Buffalo River, and a night on the river is normally a heavenly luxury...well, not so much this time. It was cold, snowy and I wanted to be home, either with my parents or with my kitty, neither of which I had. It looked as though I would be spending Christmas alone in the middle of nowhere, without even a good book to read and only a tv that got one channel in blue. Not to mention the only heater in the room was a window unit heat/ac, that lacked a LOT in actually heating the room. So without dinner, without anything to do, I bundled up in my coat and went to sleep...sort of. I was able to get enough of a cell signal to let my parents know that I was staying there for the night. Between 4 and 5 am, I heard a miraculous sound, dripping. WAIT, dripping meant melting I looked outside and it looked good for a go, so I got up, and left (hey, when you sleep in your clothes and coat, getting ready is pretty easy). I made it to Harrison and uh, oh, a few flakes started falling again. Just before crossing the state line it started getting heavy again, but I was so close, I was planning on going ahead. My cell phone rang, not exactly a good place to answer it so I waited till I got ot a gas station just south of Branson. Mom was calling telling me to turn around. Too late, was back in teh heart of it (credit to mom though, I'd told her I would start heading that way as soon as the sun came up and I left a couple hours before that). But I was close enough my parents told me if I could make it to Springfield they'd come get me. God gave me a snowplow that Christmas, and while following behind it I was able to make it to Springfield without any problem, and on to Republic. Went to Walmart, where I was goign to leave my car for the white Christmas. I went in and got a donut while I waited for my ride, but I remember the cashier saying, "You got out in this to get a donut?" I explained that was as far as I could go in something low sitting and not four wheel drive and went back to wait for my parents. They arrived, and we had a great Christmas, and lots of snow to play in. Blaine did get sick the day I had to go home, but I was able to get home safely. But since then, I've been more inclined to wish for a heavy frost on Christmas morning!