|Gloucester, NC, Mardi Gras, 2010|
I went out yesterday, about 7:30 or so, intending to drive the eight miles in to work. About two-thirds of the way there I encountered a road entirely glazed with ice, and noticed a number of folks slipping and sliding, and then parking their vehicles in fields and on shoulders as quickly as they could. Out here where I live it had not been this way, and I was driving South--which of course was in the direction in which the weather was coming. My little 2Xdrive, light truck started sliding around at about the moment I noticed the parkers. Several times I nearly went into the ditch, but fortunately I avoided that and maintained a bit of progress towards town. There was no on-coming traffic. After a few hundred yards I came to a driveway with some decent parking places and got myself into one of them. Almost instantly the owner of the place drove up, on the way to town, and said it was fine for me to leave the truck there. I called Libby, told her what was happening, called work, embarked on the walk home. I was decently dressed for the weather, although my very comfortable standing on concrete shoes are not nice and warm like the work boots I wear to cut wood and generally be outside in. My great Kyle Busch toboggan which was a Christmas present was sitting at home in the kitchen, but I did have a hat.
It wasn't long till I got offered a ride, by a woman in a big blue 4X Dodge truck. The road was so slick that I was unable to walk across it to the truck, so I told her thanks, but just worry about your own situation. She drove down the road apiece, parked in a church parking lot that was kinda flat, and I eventually reached her, where I got in. She was going precisely my direction, and getting to miss a 6 mile walk was pretty nice in my book. As we rode along she told me she was going to see her parents in Burlington (about 20 miles or so to the north at that point), and had taken this particular road because it was scenic, not realizing it was iced. Her parents, she said, were both stroke victims and needed assistance in the on-coming winter storm, which had already dropped some 5 inches of snow and ice on Georgia. We chatted about parent care and such, and it turned out that her parents were both a good bit younger than me.
I don't usually pick up people she told me, but in this weather.... Anyways, she said, I have a gun. I smiled and told her my name, and how Libby and I had been stuck in a snow-induced traffic jam just south of Roanoke on US 220, a few years back. Ever been on 220 I asked her. Nope. She went around a stationwagon that was totally stalled on an uphill. That situation had caused the big jam we had been stuck in. My rescue-er said both her parents smoked. I asked if she did and she said yes. You ought to quit I said. I know she said. Maybe when the stress of dealing with my parents is less. Yeah I said, I know. (I quit back in '84; it was not easy.) We got to where my road T's into the road we were on. I said let me out here, I can walk the rest--you don't need to go out of your way. I told her my name and shook her hand. Then I got out and started walking. Another person came along and gave me a ride the rest of the two remaining miles. Good country folks, every one. I didn't even have my fiddle in hand, as a credential.
Later, in the evening, we watched Ed Schultz interview a young guy who'd been one of the people to tackle the shooter in Tucson. He revealed to Ed that he'd been armed. I always carry a gun he said. I saw what was going on, had the safety off. I would have killed the guy if I'd of needed to. What had happened was, he saw a man with a gun, ran and grabbed him. Then someone said, no, not that guy, this one. So he went and grabbed the real shooter and helped hold him down. He said there was blood everywhere, screaming, crying. The worst thing I ever saw he said. He was glad he carried a gun. I thought that it was also good he hadn't shot the wrong person--that first guy he saw, with a gun. Still, the guy did good, no doubt about it.
I was also glad my rescue-er had been armed. Otherwise, she would not have rescued me. And I was glad she wasn't crazy, and glad she didn't shoot me. Glad that things had pretty much been for me what I'd expected, aside from that moment when my truck went sideways and it turned out there was ice on the road. And I was glad I didn't wreck the truck, for that matter. And that nobody stole the wheels till I could go get it later, when the ice had melted.
It was over all a pretty good day yesterday, for me. Made me think of the Robert Hunter lyrics:
"See here how everything, lead us to this day
And it's the same as it ever was:
Sun comin' up and then, the sun it goin' down
Shine through my window, and my friends they come around...."
This year's Gloucester Mardi Gras is February 19.