Most of you know that the South was slapped with some crazy snow & ice on Tuesday. You’ve probably seen the news coverage and heard the stories, but I thought I would share our story. It will be disjointed & probably use poor grammar, but here it is. It’s not nearly as dramatic, or sad, as some. For that I am forever thankful and feeling very blessed.
We were blessed in that none of us had to spend the night in our car, freezing. Why did that happen to so many, you ask? Because, around here, when snow is forecast, we mostly laugh. We may see a few flakes, but the ground is rarely cold enough for it to stick. Also, they had forecast the snow to be mostly south of us, with very little hitting our area. So we went about our day thinking schools would probably let out around 1:00pm and everyone would go home then. We were so wrong. Within 30 minutes of seeing the first flake, bridges and hilly roads were freezing. When I say “hilly roads”, you need to understand that we live in eyesight of a world class mountain biking park.
Here is how my day went: I got the hubs off to work, kids to school & went to the mall for my usual 3 mile walk. Came home and grabbed my coupons. My plan was to get to Old Navy to swap out a sweatshirt for my daughter and then hit the grocery store on the way home to meet the bus when school let out. I was thinking school would let out at 1:00 at that time. The first flakes hit as I was on the way to our Old Navy. It’s not far. Within 20 minutes I had driven clear roads, swapped out the shirt, and was met with a FROZEN piece of ICE on my windshield. WHAAT?? I started towards home on now snow covered roads. Dummy (me) stopped at the grocery store for a few things to make soup. Mistake. There is a mountain between the grocery store & my house. Within 10 minutes of being in the store, cars were literally sliding down the mountain. It was ugly. I panicked and called my husband. I couldn’t get to my girls. Then the phone lines were jammed with so many people stuck in similar, or worse, predicaments. One of whom was a friend who was north of the city and asked me to get her girls. Once the phone lines became jammed with callers, we couldn’t get through, but we could text & text we did! My husband tried several routes for a couple of hours to reach me in his 4WD truck. Too many wrecks. He had to turn around and eventually abandon his truck about a mile from his office and walk to his office. (Yes, his truck was off the road so it wasn’t blocking traffic.) While he was trying to get to me, I was in a text-a-thon with friends. We all were wanting to get to our kids, because the school busses were grounded. This is where I must say that I am SO grateful that I live close to everything! We are within 3 miles of schools and grocery stores. One neighbor was able to get her kids, my kids, and 2 friends to her house. My kids + 1 friend walked from her house to our house (next door). They were home. But I didn’t know because my phone had died. I just knew she had them, so I trusted her to get them home. Bless her!!
I had gone into a hair salon to wait. Then I decided to walk. One of the ladies in the hair salon gave me her gloves because mine were at home. Another lady said she would walk with me. I grabbed several bags of groceries and the bag of sweatshirts. Thankfully, I had bought a couple more while at the store. The lady & I each used one as a scarf and off we went. Soooo many people were walking. Some crazy people were still trying to get up the mountain in a car, and sliding back down. Walking got to be dangerous due to the cars sliding down, but we made it. We picked up some others as we went. All walking to get kids from school or just trying to get home. A lot of high school kids were walking from the other side to meet parents in the parking lot who couldn’t get over the mountain. About 1/2 mile from the high school, a couple stopped and offered us a ride. They dropped me at the high school, where I went in to get a friend’s older daughter. When I got out of their vehicle, I managed to leave one bag of groceries. Oh, well. They certainly deserved it for driving around to help people get where they needed to go. I forgot to even try to offer them gas money. I have no idea who they were.
When I got my friend’s daughter at the high school, I explained that she could stay at my house with her sister and my girls, but she would have to walk a little over 2 miles to get there. Bless her heart! She looked a little startled, but took it good naturedly. We made it to within 1/2 mile of my house & one of my other neighbors took us home in his truck. He was out in his truck helping get kids home on our side of the mountain. We were SO glad to see him, especially since we still had another hill in the neighborhood to get over and my arms were going numb from carrying groceries. Once home, I found my girls and friends having snowball fights in the yard. Hallelujah!! I went in to plug in my phone and let my friend know I had her girls and let hubs know I made it home.
We never lost power. We didn’t lose phone service – other than lines being tied up with so many stranded people. We were blessed! My husband was stuck at work, but he was safe. He and some co-workers walked up to the mall to get food. Like so many other places, the Panera Bread was giving free food to anyone who could get to them. Thank you, Panera!! Around 1:00AM, hubs thought he could get home. One of his co-workers has a 4WD Mercedes car. He took hubs to his truck. From there, my determined husband drove home over the icy roads. Most cars were pulled over and abandoned by then. He did not, however, let me know he was coming home. I was obviously SOUND asleep. So sound asleep that I did not hear the garage door go up. Or down. But, buddy, I heard the alarm system say “Fault Den Garage Door!” The dog came straight up to all 4’s from his bed and I came straight up and over to the gun from my bed. As I was reaching in for the gun, I heard a quiet, “Honey?”. Glory! Needless to say I didn’t shoot him……but I took it into consideration for the scare he gave me!
My friend (whose daughters were at my home) made it to a shelter for the night and then home the next morning. Once the hubs finished some conference calls (he works for a utility company), we loaded her girls in the truck and found a route to their house on the other side of the mountain. Once they were dropped off, we were able to pick up a friend that had spent the night on that side with a kind family who were strangers. Sooo many people opened their homes & pantries to stranded people! We loaded up my friend and stopped by her car and mine to get all the groceries. (She had been in the grocery store the same time as me.) Our car is still on the other side of the mountain, but we are all home and safe. Hopefully, the car will make it home today. I’ll leave you with some pictures: