Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Pickup, Snowdrift, and a Friendly Farmer

So, a friend calls, and our hero goes out on a rescue mission.  It's been cold, and it's been snowy, and the wind has been doing its typical thing in these parts, turning the snow into snowdrifts that function like concrete road barricades.  Our hero jumps in his Ford pickup, confidently heading to his friend's house, confidently navigating north, into the wind, on a day when the temperature reads -15. Confident, because he's got FOUR WHEEL DRIVE and MUD GRIP TIRES.  Almost the same as snow-grip tires, right?  Almost.  He's got HOT COFFEE!  Well, our hero turns off the Firecracker road and sees that someone has already driven down this road.  Yesterday.  BW.  Before the concrete-producing wind.  He can see the tops of fence-posts.  He can see the remnants of a plowing from days gone by.  And he can see snow.  Lots.  His confidence fades, but he takes another sip of hot coffee and hits the gas.  Then he hits the brakes and waits, thinking.  He steps outside and trudges through the snow, most of it somewhere between his boot-tops and his knees.  The wind blows much of his coffee-induced, four-wheel-drive confidence away.

Our hero's father always claimed that people with four wheel drives got stuck more often than people without.

Our hero decides his pickup can handle the snow.  He drives in.  Stops.  Backs out.  Looks over one daunting drift.  Shovels some of it away.  Drives through the drift, into more drift.  He stops, one wheel dangerously tempting the ditch.  He feels a kind of sinking that hot coffee cannot buoy, a kind of wind-whipped flag beginning to tatter and pop, so that someone seeing the tattered flag might wonder, "Why would anyone leave a raggedy flag like that up?"  Our hero musters a hint of confidence again, shovels some snow away, peers beneath the FOUR WHEEL DRIVE pickup to see he's clear of the snow.  He's clear.

He backs up, away from the tempting ditch, back through the daunting drift, following his tracks, except his tracks don't go into the ditch, where he now finds himself.  He's got a cell phone, so he calls for a tow.  Todd's Towing.  Quick answer. He'll be right out.

Then, his friend calls.  Farmer on the way.  Soon, over the hill, the smoke and vapor of a tractor appears, then the tractor itself, its bucket down, scraping a path through concrete barriers that fail to daunt.  Our hero calls back Todd, who says he'll wait to see whether the tow is necessary.  The tractor passes by.  Then returns, backing up, then a friendly farmer emerges from the cab, a log chain in hand.

"On a rescue mission?"
"I was."

Our hero hears how the farmer is clearing the road for his wife.

"She's got a swimming lesson at Lake Campbell."
"She's a tough old bird," our hero retorts.

The pickup comes out nicely.

Our hero calls Todd, calls the friend, calls the wife.  His coffee has cooled.  He arrives home safely.  He is confident there is hot coffee at home.

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