Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Making memories

So, we were hanging out in Portage, Indiana, where most of my husband's vast extended family lives. We had a lovely time at his mom's house, as previously mentioned, and we stopped by to see his dad on Saturday. Dad lives with his father, Grampa Godby, who is going to be 91 in April. Along with Steve's dad, Grampa also has living with him a grown daughter and a grandson who is a grandfather himself, Steve's cousin Randy.

With my boys there for the visit, there were four solid generations of Godby's for the conversation. Naturally, since this bunch are not known for their placid childhoods, the conversation turned rather sharply from the new President-elect to the shenanigans pulled by a wide variety of brothers, sisters and cousins. Because this particualr family does nothing halfway, we were in stitches laughing for the better part of an hour, even though some of the stories we had heard every year since Steve and I married nineteen years ago!

Now, I have some pretty silly stories from my childhood in Vermont, with my sisters and the neighbor girls, but nothing like what these people got into. Some things were downright foolhardy and participants were lucky to come out alive. Some are just the junk kids pull and laugh about when they are grown. But my kids are indoor types, preferring to hang out and play video games, despite my best efforts to get them involved in something else. I was feeling regret that my kids wouldn't have the same type of stories to share around a heater on a bitter winter's day, so I expressed my frustration. "You boys need to get out from in front of the television and make some memories before it's too late!"

Little did I know they would take me "seriously" and begin right away! Sunday night they were driving home from a friends house, a good twenty miles away. Steve and I were were tucked snugly into bed when the phone rang. That late at night we always ignore the first one; but then it rang again. "Uh-oh, this can't be good," Steve says. So we pick up the phone. It's Phil, who got his full license six weeks ago, but drove all last winter with his permit. "Uh, sorry Dad, but we got stuck in a snow drift. The road was perfectly clear and suddenly it was not. We can't get out, no way, no how." Did I mention it was minus five degrees out and the wind chill factor was about twenty below??

So we start dressing in out warmest clothes, warming up the four-wheel drive pickup and searching for our logging chains to pull them out. In the process we are clambering over bags of leaves that didn't get picked up by our township in time, and I am taking face-plants in the snow after tripping over one of many five-gallon potted roses that never made it into the ground before the freeze. (I did mention the temperature, right??)

We arrive on the scene to discover that the boys have called the family whose house they just left, and the Mr. and their friend are keeping the boys warm in their vehicle while the father of another friend has arrived with his big ol' truck and a plow. (You guys ROCK!!!!) See, there will be no pulling them out with the truck. Nor will there be any shovelling out of the car, because it is a full thirty feet into a foot-deep drift that has packed and frozen. The car is past it's axles in packed snow.

So JB, God bless him, starts pushing snow. And pushing snow. And pushing snow. (Did I mention the temperature? It was WAY worse out in the flat country with no wind blocks.) The short story is that he eventually gets enough snow cleared so that chains will reach the car and it can be dragged out of the drift. Yay!!!

The car makes it out of the drift, but we have bent the control arm in the process, so we still have to have the darn thing towed then a repair made. We are forever grateful that noone was hurt or frozen in the process. Both boys learned some valuable lessons, though, not the least of which was that when you start "just poofing through" small drifts on the road when it hasn't even been snowing, you are on the wrong road. In other words, don't take the stinkin' back roads when the weather is awful! Secondly, they learned firsthand why I nag them to take along coats, hats, gloves and boots every time they are out driving in winter. It doesn't only take a lack of judgement to sideline a car in winter. Be prepared! (They did, at least, have coats. One had a hat, the other had some gloves.)

It's not quite what I had in mind when I told them to start making memories; thankfully nobody was hurt. They will retell it and laugh about it when they are thirty.

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