Bags packed, flights checked and double checked, I headed out. Getting to Montana in February is no small ordeal, even with today’s technology and advancement. Still, I boarded the plane and expected to arrive within eight hours, including layovers. Visiting my oldest daughter, son-in-law, and two grandkids is worth any challenge!
Arriving several hours late into Salt Lake City, I discovered I was in for a twenty-three-hour layover. I dragged myself to the hotel and fell into bed. Tomorrow would be better! I spent the day working from the airport terminal and finally, at 9:30 in the evening, boarded the plane. I still hadn’t missed my grandson’s baptism. Onward and upward.
More Than I Bargained For
When the plane landed, everyone erupted into applause. I asked the girl next to me why the clapping. She responded with a look as if I had asked something in Chinese. She replied, “The pilot just landed in a blizzard without the help of the lights on the ground.” “Oh,” I replied, in that innocent Tennessee way of being clueless to what that really meant.
It was late, but I was determined. I would get the rental car and drive to my daughter’s home, a half hour away. As I walked up to the rental car, I noticed the snow falling outside. I was still clueless. Remember, I’m from Tennessee – a dusting is about all I’ve ever driven in. So I asked the car rental attendant for any advice on driving in the snow. She gave me the same look as the girl on the plane, then asked me to wait and went to the back.
When she returned, she informed me that they had upgraded my car to all-wheel drive because they thought I was a liability in the smaller car I had rented. With keys in hand, I made my way to the side door where the rental lot was located. As the doors opened, I stopped breathing – then stepped back to allow the doors to close.
Snow – did you know it could be over seven feet high? The snow piled up along the sides of the door opening way above my head. I said a prayer (a plea!), tried not to show fear, and proceeded through the doors. The wind was blinding and the cold was new to this Southern girl. When I found the car, I realized I wouldn’t be able to drive
forward because there was snow piled up all around it.
Watching a gentleman in the car next to me, I realized I’d have to start using my hands as shovels. A half hour later, the car was beginning to warm and I could make it out of the parking spot. But beyond that, the visibility was near zero. Seeing a truck approaching, I jumped from my car and asked if I could follow him to the main road.
That half hour drive ended up taking nearly 4 hours, and I got stuck in the snow twice. Waiting on the side of the road at 2 in the morning, I was helped by a kind stranger. With little-to-no cell phone service, I dialed 911 on my second encounter with one of those snow drifts. I truly believe that lady laughed at me. But she took my phone number and the name of my daughter in case I didn’t show up because I decided to walk the last half mile. In my cute boots, I slipped and slid my way with my luggage and far-too-heavy handbag down the darkest of roads.
My daughter lives out in the country in Montana with a few neighbors. There are no light posts, and the snow was over two feet high on the road with drifts over six feet on the sides. Using my handy iPhone flashlight like any good cultured city girl, I waved it high while yelling for my daughter. I think I woke her poor neighbors up.
Halfway down the road, I found a cell phone spot and was able to call. Jenny and her husband came running for me, as they had been up for hours worrying. Ah, the inside of a warm home and the safety of having people around has never been so welcomed.
The Stories We Share
I now laugh at how much I went through getting to my daughter’s house, even if my grandson’s baptism was canceled. That trip was an ordeal full of worry and stress, but now it’s a great story. Isn’t that just like parenting? I have three grown daughters and two boys left in high school. I can look back and laugh at my parenting moments, but at the time I worried about things turning out well for them and me.
Whether it’s marriage, parenting, or homeschooling, things can be stressful. But in time, everything tends to work out and stories form. It is my hope that you are encouraged as you read articles by, hear stories from, and even sit down for coffee with other moms who have been there and done that. As we interact with one another’s stories, we often find that most of our life issues are common, and we can draw from each other while staying challenged to think of new ways to overcome obstacles. As always, remember it’s a journey, one step at a time.