As we crunch through November it seems the question on everybody’s lips, at least on anybody’s lips who finds themselves sliding behind the wheel on a regular basis, is pretty much the same.
“How were the roads?
And for the most part the answers remain inevitably the same.
“Terrible. Horrible. They were really, really bad. Not good.”
There are, of course, other comments, but those, while descriptive, are definitely not printable.
The roads went from fine to bad to worse after the rain. The first rain, that is. And then there was more rain. And then there was snow. And then more snow.
It was picture perfect, the snow, falling like gentle little snowmen playing tag with each other as they tumbled to the ground.
The only problem was it wasn’t a picture. It was real.
And, suddenly without warning, what became a nice little drive to work became a test of endurance.
I, who have driven these roads since Moby Dick was a minnow, or sometime around that time, have found myself at the computer every morning anxiously scanning the AMA road report, somewhat like a very anxious type person, which in fact, I am.
I am, of course, looking for some semblance of relief that commuting that day isn’t going to be all that bad. That, in fact, going from Point A to Point B will be a matter of routine in a busy day, not a minor miracle.
But, alas, the past few days, at least, my road has been coloured in red. Not green. Red. Not yellow. Red.
“Oh dear,” I moan, each and every morning. “Oh dear! Here we go again.”
Of course, every cloud must have a silver lining, or so they say!
And, of course, because life is what happens when you make other plans, that’s what happened. My cloud had a silver lining.
I had made it home safe and sound, minus the fingermarks I had left on the steering wheel. But, other people I knew were not home safe and sound. In fact, they were not home at all. My niece happened to be one of those people.
The texts between us started the usual way.
Her: “How were the roads?”
Me: Why don’t you stay overnight?
Her: I think I will!
And that was that!
Before I knew it I had an overnight guest, unplanned for, but very much welcomed.
She came through the front door bringing a blast of cold air with her. I got her snuggled into an easy chair with blankets and the offer of something hot to drink.
It was her birthday the next day and I decided to make it as special as I could for her. It was also my son’s birthday.
I had thought about his birthday a lot that day, remembering, and wishing I could be there with him and his little family to eat cake and laugh and remember and hug him lots and tell him how proud I was of him and just be, like, you know, a mom.
But, alas, he lives far away and, anyway, the roads were terrible.
But, here I was, lucky enough to be blessed with another family member who also had a birthday the very same day.
I decided it was cause for celebration.
I invited more family, we had cake, we had ice cream and I bought her a sweater that had glittery snow flakes and the words ‘Fa La La La’ emblazoned on it. I thought the sweater was very much in keeping with her job as a piano teacher.
And, even as the snow and ice turned the roads to sheets of something that was very undesirable to drive on, our little group stayed safe and warm and laughed and ate cake and looked through photograph albums and remembered the way it was and the way we were.
And it was good!
Treena Mielke is the editor of the Rimbey Review. She lives in Sylvan Lake with her family.