It snowed today. It was real snow -- an Idaho snow where temperature stays low and keeps everything frozen and nothing melts. New snow falls on in icy layers. The danger of this is that the people here are not Idahoans. I stood in front of the picture window wondering if I should try making it up the hill, and saw two people fall on the sidewalk. Nope. Not walking to mom's today. Driving? The danger of driving in Eugene are Eugeneans. No offense meant, but rev'ing is not how you get uphill and sitting behind the wheel of an SUV does not mean you have better traction, and you can't stop at the intersection here on Jefferson unless you're working on stopping all the way down.
Will said he'd give me a ride to mom's. Southtowne is a hill over from us. I gladly took the ride because he's a Rhode Islander and, sorry, it's left over from my upbringing only on snow days, he's a guy. At the top of the hill was an LTD bus pulled to the side. We pulled over. Other cars kept on going, then stop at the crest, and then go into reverse, sliding backwards. Eugene. Eventually, men bundled in coats, hat and scarves formed a line across the street at the top of the hill waving their arms to stop traffic. What were they thinking. That's what those little triangle thingies are for so that a truck sliding sideways doesn't wipe out a row of men.
We weren’t going over that hill. Will did the chains to drive off into a side road while I stepped out to watch for vehicles for him. With drivers like these, it's a good idea not to be kneeling down by the side of the road.
After chaining up, we inched down the side road and around to the other side of the hill. We looked up the hill to see what had stopped everyone, and just down from the crest was a milk truck sideways, smashed by a truck. It could have gotten pretty ugly if traffic did not stop, and no wonder the cars who passed us, backed up so quickly.
This is my second day, being dropped off at mom's and spending the day at Southtowne until Will picks me up at 1 pm for his lunch at home. It's nice just hanging out with the oldsters. The first day we were entertained by a brave soul who drove carefully over from Springfield to play his harmonica, guitar, and wail his cowboy yodeling songs. Mom sang her style with him. A cowboy/Little Richard kind of duet. Today was restful. Mom napped. I'd wake her for a walk around the building looking out all the windows at the snow. Then she would take another nap. I took out my book and settled down on her commode beside her little bed while she snuggled under her fleece blanket with holly design. I could hear the activity in the hall.
Barbara, who must have been a writer of gothic suspense in her younger days, and who now speaks in her gravelly, dramatic voice from her wheelchair to whomever will listen was saying, "Would someone please help me!"
A med-aide came by. "How can I help you, Barbara?"
"I need to go to the ocean."
"It's too cold for the ocean. What else can I do for you, Barbara?"
"Then you can kill me!"
"I can't kill you either, Barbara. That would not be something I could do."
"If I can't go to the ocean, I might as well die, because I cannot see my Sweetheart?"
"Who is your Sweetheart, Barbara?"
"Where is Marie."
"She's waiting for me in the ocean!"
I like to listen to Barbara. She has many scenerios. She used to really bug the men at Southtowne. She'd roll up beside them, and say out of the blue, "Your wife will leave you and your children all hate you!" She grows on you.
While I spent the mornings for the last couple of days at Southtowne, I decided maybe this is what we do in the winter, hang out together inside. Mom loves her rides, but sometimes, rainy days, snowy days, we might as well just stay in and go with the flow. Snow does that. Slows everything down to a normal pace. All those things that humans invent to be busy, all those meetings for events, meetings for new goals, meetings to meet stopped all over Eugene in a winter moment. We are a one snowplow town caught by surprise. Stopped cold! It was exactly what Will and I needed. I needed it surely, hanging with mom, coming home, and cleaning the house, doing the laundry, attending to piles which had grown while we invented busyness.
Another snowstorm is coming in tomorrow, mixed with freezing rain. Nothing is going to thaw so the ice sheet will remain underneath. Just got a call from Wilma, 90 years old, saying she is not stepping out of the house to drive to the potluck Thursday. And the potluck was canceled. I had wondered about that. That's how you get to be 90. You don't have to wait for a call to know when to stay in from the weather.
By the way, we're grateful for the snow and the snowpack. We humans had our turn to pack the days with meetings, events and hanging together. The elders always did say, get up with the sun, go to bed when it's dark, and stay in when it's cold. It's just normal.
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