Cookin', Critters and Chillun

Score: Ice – 1, neighbors and friends – 3

It hadn’t happened in a long time, but in Monday morning’s icy glaze on our private road, I lost my car. Not literally lost it – I just had to abandon it after the road won out over the vehicle. I had waited a respectable two hours that morning for the glaze on the hills to thaw before creeping down our driveway on the north face of Little Brushy Mountain. I knew I was in trouble when I turned the wheels right at the bottom of the driveway – and the car went left.

A fluke, I hoped, caused by runoff from our two shared driveways. It took me five minutes to get turned around and then to inch forward with two wheels in the snow. All was well, even on the steepest part of the road where someone had thrown out a little sand, until I was close enough to see the end of the street. Then the ice took my Durango up close and personal against a neighbor’s rock wall and into the ditch that slopes toward it.

The ice glaze on the pavement was so bad I couldn’t even walk to a neighbor’s house 25 yards away to ask if they had sand or could lend me a grown son to push. And even though I had enough cell power in a dying phone to call my husband, I knew he couldn’t get down to me without sliding, either, in his little Hyundai.

“Hey, 4-wheel drive, right? I can get out of this,” I told myself. The ice, slope and the wall had other ideas. I cajoled the car. “Come on, you can do it. Get one wheel on the pavement.” Backing up a little, groaning forward inches. Then two wheels on the pavement. (And the two on the passenger side in the ditch, still.)

“You can do it, baby,” I cheered the Durango on some more, trying combinations of different gears. That went on for about 25 minutes. Meanwhile, Bill was calling USAA to see about getting me towed.

I was determined, even though there were ominous groaning and scraping sounds each time I backed up a little more. I didn’t want to find out if it was the rock wall, the bushes or something worse.

Eventually, I got all the wheels onto the pavement and free of the hateful ditch. Then the 4-wheel quit, and next the transmission disengaged so the car was only in neutral.

About that time, the closest neighbor son, Kevin Nunley, and his son arrived to push me over to the side of the road so other people could get by. I reluctantly called Bill to reinstate that tow truck call, then called the office to ask our head printer, Billy Powell, to come down Wildwood to pick me up. After all, I needed to get to work so I could pull together my other paper, The New Castle Record.

Once again, wonderful Rick Yopp of Riverside Auto rescued the Durango. He had the bushing and linkage replaced within two hours. Yea, for good and reasonable mechanics in Salem.

I learned later that another neighbor had wiped out his Jeep that same morning, smashing windows on the driver’s side. I haven’t found out if he rolled or just met trees up close and personal.

My baby Durango has a few more battle scars than before and rock wall bites, but he’s OK. Next time there’s a glaze of ice, I’m doing all my work by telephone and Internet until I can stand up on the road on my own two feet!

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