It was winter. I was leaving work at the diner and was meant to head to Boston. My boss, a sweet, kind, caring fellow, asked that I please not risk the drive. This was good advice and I am glad that I followed it. As I slowly crawled home in my Saturn, the radio news told me that there was a huge pile-up on the highway. I headed through the east side of Providence and thanked my lucky stars that I would soon be warm and cozy at home.
I turned left onto the hill that lead to my house. A man clearing his driveway shouted and waved his hands. "Don't drive down there! It's never plowed!" This was true. The city nearly never plowed my neighborhood. "I'll be fine!" I smiled "I just live right there in the second road!" I confidently, though slowly and carefully, progressed further toward the downward slope. Just then, another man clearing another drive on the other side of the street shouted and waved "hey!" I lowered my window and affirmed that I understood his concerns about driving down the hill, and assured him that I wasn't headed down there. I rolled my window up, grateful for my caring neighbors, crested the hill and put on my turn signal for the turn into my road. As I turned the wheel nothing happened. I tapped the brakes and nothing happened - - I was headed down the hill.
I went limp, because I heard that that is what one is meant to do. It was taking forever, however and I couldn't maintain my limpness. Then I saw that at the bottom of the hill, there was a pile up. A car had hit a lamppost and dislodged another car that had hit the same post. A school bus had hit that car and the drivers were out of the cars and safe, but I saw that the bus was still full of it's little tiny passengers. Ack!
I tried swinging my wheel back and forth, hoping to hit a tree on the way. I pounded the brakes, ready to turn into the skid. No response. My plan to stay limp was failing, but luckily, my car just softly, smoothly and slowly inserted itself under the school bus. The children in the bus cheered.
I called my pal and neighbor on my cell phone. Her boyfriend answered. "Is Dacia there?" I panted. "Look in your back window." There, scooting, falling and finally sliding and paddling herself down the hill on her bum, was my buddy. "I'm coming!" she shouted.
I've told this story many times and it's probably fairly common. Today, though, as snow falls in other parts of this country and another, possibly on my loved ones who are far away, I am thinking of that day. I'm not thinking of the crash or the shattered car. I'm thinking of the snow shovellers and the woman on her bum. I'm thinking about the straining to go limp.
This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for all of my loved ones and all of my support. I hope that when they speak, that I listen fully. I hope that when they need me, I can scoot on my snowy bum and be with them.