In our own backyard.... Sometimes the gift is greater than the giver
It's hard to say just when I noticed the little red truck in my rear view mirror. I had been concentrating too hard on the road ahead of me, wanting to make sure I safely navigated the snow-covered, icy surface of one of the first significant sno...
It's hard to say just when I noticed the little red truck in my rear view mirror. I had been concentrating too hard on the road ahead of me, wanting to make sure I safely navigated the snow-covered, icy surface of one of the first significant snowfalls of the year.
It was a morning early last week, and I was cautiously making my way to work. Since my husband and I live a long distance out in the country, I have to drive on everything from dirt roads to divided highways each morning in order to get to work, and each one takes on a life of its own after a fresh snowfall during the night.
This particular morning, a light, swirling snow was still falling, the wind was blowing and the road I was on was slick and treacherous. I hadn't gone far before I caught up with the county snowplow. I realized beyond a doubt there was no way I was going to try to pass on the little two-lane roadway, though the snowplow driver was meticulously wending his way along at only about 40 miles per hour. That's 15 miles an hour slower than the normal speed limit, and it was obvious that the delay was going to make me late for work.
I took a couple of deep breaths and convinced myself that I could make up for the lost time at the end of the day, so I went back to concentrating on staying on the road.
Every time the wind kicked up, the snow from the plow's big blade would send up an impenetrable cloud that obscured even the flashing lights of the plow. At that point, I braked even further until the lights reemerged, nervous that the plow might slow down or stop and I might risk running into it in the blinding cloud of snow.
I suppose it was after the first couple of times I applied my brakes that I happened to glance in my rear view mirror and noticed the red truck following behind me. My first reaction was nervousness that he was too close and would be unable to stop if I should begin to side slip or was forced to come to a sudden stop in the wake of the plow.
Another quick glance in the rear view mirror revealed that the man driving the red truck behind me was flashing his headlights at me. My immediate reaction was he was trying to tell me I'd forgotten to turn my headlights on. Guiltily, I quickly glanced down at my dashboard, discovering with relief that my headlights were, indeed, on. My next thought was that he might be having trouble with his brakes or that he had bald tires and wanted to alert me to the fact that he might not be able to stop. A few more fleeting glances in my rear view mirror set my mind at ease that he seemed to be under control, however.
It was after one of the times that the plow kicked up the sudden cloud of snow and I tapped my brakes to slow my forward progress that he flashed at me once again. And finally, the light dawned. I realized that he was impatient with the fact that I hadn't tried to pass the snowplow, and each time I slowed down even further, he appeared to grow downright angry.
Of course, this made an already tenuous driving situation even more dangerous. I steadied myself and determined to stick to my guns. I knew the visibility was too bad and the roads were too slippery to even consider passing the plow, so the fellow behind me was just going to have to put up with our slow progress until the opportunity arose to do otherwise.
After what seemed like an eternity, the plow and I and the man in the truck behind me came to a four-way stop. The plow veered off into the right turn lane, and I pulled in behind him. The man in the little red truck pulled hastily up along side me. And as I turned to look him straight in the eye through our respective car windows, he glared back at me with a scowl and an obscene gesture. Just as readily, I flashed him a blinding smile and dipped my head in acknowledgement.
That's because - though he and I were no doubt going to be a little late in arriving at our respective destinations that morning - we would, indeed, get there safely, and for that, I was willing to take full credit.
Pine Journal Publisher/ reporter Wendy Johnson can be contacted at: email@example.com .