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STEVE BARTLETT: It was a dark and stormy night …

December is here and wintry weather will follow.
December is here and wintry weather will follow. - 123RF Stock Photo

The snowdrift across the highway was humongous.

And my trusty old car was firmly embedded in the middle of it.

It just wasn’t budging.

Neither was I.

I was wearing a tuxedo — the only time I had rented one since my high school grad — and I had dress shoes on my feet.

I had a no winter coat, boots, gloves or hat, the latter being a winter necessity for a bald man.

Oh, and did I mention it was 3 a.m.?

Yup.

Steve Bartlett
Steve Bartlett

A lively night celebrating business and community ending in a total shipshow.

The forecast had called for a few flurries, not Snowmageddon.

I was woefully unprepared, failing to take the necessary precautions and underestimating winter.

Now I was paying the price.

I put the car in neutral, got out, slid to the back bumper, and tried to push myself out.

The car was stuck solid.

The harder I pushed, the more my shoes slipped. I soon found myself lying in the highway, exposing a rented tux to the elements and likely road salt, spread by the highways crew before the snow got heavy.

Sigh.

I lay there for a second, wondering about the meaning of it all, kicking myself for being such a knob.

Every second seemed like an eternity.

The howling wind.

The blowing snow.

The smell of burning tires.

Back in the car, I cranked the music to drown it all out. There was little else I could do.

I wasn’t afraid or feeling any danger, but I was anxious for a resolution and also really curious how I was going to get out of it.

After 30 minutes or so, I spotted car lights in the rear-view mirror.

A vehicle was bobbing its way through the snow towards me.

As it got closer, it became obvious that it was a cab. I also realized if the driver slowed to help me, they’d likely get stuck too.

I was prepared for the taxi to plow past me, but, unselfishly, the cabbie stopped.

He and his fare got out and, with determination, pushed me through the snow bank.

I was very thankful, and thrilled that they didn’t get stuck too.

It took me another 30 minutes to get home before I got stuck again in my driveway.

I left the car there for the night and went to bed.

This was 15 or so years ago.

I wrote a column about what happened.

Mom, who lived eight hours away, read the piece, printed it off, and sent it to me with a new, prepaid cell phone — the first mobile I ever owned.

On the printed column she wrote: “I never want to read something like this again.”

I’m retelling the story today because it’s a good reminder.

December is here and wintry weather will follow.

Prepare for it, and don’t take any foolish risks.

I really don’t want you to get my drift.


Steve Bartlett is an editor with SaltWire Network. Reach him at steve.bartlett@thetelegram.com.

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