Closing Door

Rain pelted down onto my car’s windshield. I leaned forward and stared at the rivulets of water. Were there a few ice crystals in some of those drops? I pulled out my phone and texted my daughter Tammie, “It’s started raining here already. My car’s thermometer shows that it is 35 degrees. Are you still planning to drive home tomorrow?”

All morning as I did my errands, I stopped often to text my daughter updates on the weather. “It stopped raining.” Then, “The rain has started up again.” Later, “I saw a few ice crystals in the falling rain.” I’m not usually so preoccupied with the weather, but the weather service had reported a large spring snow storm moving through the Mid-West for the last two days. Both my home and my daughter’s were in the center of its path!

Having a huge storm approach Wisconsin doesn’t usually bother me, but this time I had something important to do and didn’t want the weather to get in the way. My daughter and I were planning to leave for vacation in France, Spain and Portugal on Monday. But first Tammie needed to drive the three hours from her home to mine. She planned to do it on Saturday afternoon. I was worried that the storm would make the roads too bad by then.   

The last time I texted Tammie that Friday morning, she answered, “I’ve decided to drive to your house after work today.”

When Tammie started her trip, small pellets of frozen rain occasionally fell like Styrofoam beads from the sky. For a short period of time sharp-edged hail stones peppered the bare lawn around my house. My daughter called to say the roads were not bad and the traffic was light. She said, “I think everyone else decided to stay home.”

Driving conditions deteriorated the closer Tammie drove towards home. She reported, “I’m driving slower than usual, but feel safe.”  Fifteen minutes before my daughter pulled into my driveway, it began to snow.

I went to the garage and opened the door to the second bay. After we carried her luggage into the house, she pulled the car inside the building, out of the storm. We stood arm-in-arm for several minutes in the shelter of the open garage and marveled at the sheets of snow falling and swirling in the wind. The driveway, clear of snow only moments before, was already covered with half an inch of snow.

We got up for breakfast the following morning and looked out of the window. I gasped, “Tammie, come and look at the big thigh-high drift in front of the garage!”

She nodded and said, “It’s a good thing I decided to come last night instead of today.”

I marveled, “You managed to just squeak through a closing door! Starting just a half an hour later, would have made driving the last few miles home so much more dangerous.”

The storm continued all day Saturday and Sunday. The drift in front of my garage grew to be chest high. Snow whipped around by the wind looked like billows of smoke. Totally snowbound, I worried that we wouldn’t be able to get to the airport on Monday morning to fly to Europe.

This record-setting spring snowstorm will always be remembered when I think about this trip. One thing about memories, is you know how they end. But being in the middle of making a memory, I was anxious about the outcome. I worked on trusting that whatever happened was meant to be.

Was my driveway plowed in time for us to get to the airport on time? As Paul Harvey, my mother’s favorite radio announcer liked to say, “Stay tuned, to hear the rest of the story.”

 

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