December 24th - Christmas Eve
Coming home from my aunt and uncle's in Ft. Worth seemed like a good idea at the time. It was snowing and there was a possiblity for ice, but it was only 4:30 and not yet dark. Uncle Bill scraped any ice or snow off my car, my sister and I got in, turned the heater on and hit the road. The first two corners I slipped slightly, but the neighborhood streets are always the worst and least traveled. Getting on the highway was ok at first. I just needed to get home, 30 minutes away, probably closer to an hour in this weather, and then I could let little Edward outside and fix dinner. The onramp to I-35W had other ideas.
Let me tell you Oklahoman's don't know how to drive in snow and ice and Texans are even worse. They don't seem to understand that if you stop on ice you are probably not going to get going again until it thaws. So I'm just about to the peak of the curving slanted incredulously long ramp when the car in front of me slows almost to a hault. I have a nagging feeling I shouldn't be in the left lane so I start to merge into the right. Now some of you might be thinking, 'what the hell was she doing driving that Camaro in the snow?' Well it's my daily driver, the big hunk of beautifully curved metal in my life and it's weight seemed like an advantage at the time. What I wasn't thinking about was that all the weight is in the front of the car. The trunk and back end isn't nearly as heavy. So when the car in front of my decided that stopping was a good idea right before I was able to change lanes, the back wheels didn't get any traction. In one of those, 'I can't believe this is happening to me' moments, Astrid is slowly inching sideways with any pressure put on the gas petal.
Looking in the rear view mirror, we're not the only ones that have spun out. After the small line of cars behind us have passed, a new tiny little black sports car is now parallel to us, sitting horizontal on the bridge about 50 yards back, a long line of angry Texan cars trying to edge around it. The man in the huge olive green H-5 Hummer ignores my sister's plea for help, rolls his window up and continues down the icy road, while a few people are out of their vehicles helping the tiny sports car. A young sandy haired man rolls the window down to his white pick-up insisting that he promises to continue down the bridge but then come back and help us. After a terrifying probably 10 minutes of sitting on the ice bridge trying to figure out what to do, here comes our new sandy haired friend walking up the curve back towards us. The little black sports car is actually moving, comes to a hault behind us and gets out to help push, knowing the now all to familiar feeling of not wanting to have to hike home. Meanwhile my sister has Papa on the phone talking possibilities of a tow truck and walking down the highway from the direction in which we came to recruit more men salivating at the possibility of helping two stranded 20-something girls stuck in a '71 muscle car.
We've got 3 or 4 people at this point, but Astrid's not going anywhere but further sideways and there's no way these guys can get a grip on the ground let alone push the car. A heavy set man in a huge four wheel drive truck stops just ahead and to the right of our party, hopping out and yanking a long yellow band out of the pick-up bed and tells my new sandy haired friend to crawl under my car and 'attach it to anything'. With quite a bit of effort the truck pulls Astrid straight cause his truck to swing sideways. He offers Sandy a ride back to his truck and they skid off sidways down the bridge and to relative safety. All our little helpers have skated back to their cars, while Samantha and I attemp to move forward. The Camaro only wants to move sideways again so we stay put, engine running, Papa on the phone trying to pin our location and how we really didn't get that far at all so he can call a tow truck. I have insisted I'll pay for it, I don't car that it's going to be expensive because Astrid has forgotten how to move in the correct direction. It seems like we've been stuck on the bridge for at least an hour (when really it's mostly likely only been 20-30 minutes) and I see flashing lights in my rearview. I tell Papa a tow truck has found us, to wait on calling a tow company and get out of the car.
In reality it's a fire truck, with four firemen crawling out and one asking me questions about whether we were in a wreck, why we were stopped on the bridge and if either of us or the car were hurt. I completely butcher the explaination of what has happened but eventually get the point across. He tells me they are going to push me down and around the curve and that even though the rest of the highway is icy, I should be ok if we can just get moving. He translates the plan of how to get this going and I put the car in neutral. In hind sight it was similar to a parents coaching a cat out from a tree: 'you got yourself up there now get yourself down' as he coaxes my turns and braking to get the car around the curve. He tells me that the other guys have let go and I'm now moving on my own. A few last words of guidence and he says that he can't walk me down any longer, we're on our own.
Papa, still on the phone, determines our location as we stop in front of an exit and discovers that a tow truck is not an option. I'm either going to have to drive home or they are going to have to come try and get us, leaving Astrid on the side of the road. This last idea is even worse than the first to me for a number of reasons. Firstly being that my poor car will surely get rammed by several cars in the night on the increasingly icy roads, and second how are my parents going to get to us? I tell him I'm going to try driving forward and that the last mile wasn't too bad as long as we take it slowly. All the way to 820 it's like we have the plague because no one will get near us. I can't be happier with this revelation because I won't have to stop, risking not getting moving again, and there are fewer idiot drivers to skid out and hit us if they keep 30 yards away in all directions.
In what turned out to be a two hour trip, we made it to the apartment, I didn't strangle my sister, and sat on the couch to take a valume so I could actually breath as the aniexty attack I'd been suppressing finally started settling in. I thawed out my colorless and purple finger tips in the kitchen sink, while Eddie was estatic I was back and Samantha unfroze her tootsies in the tub. Spaghetti for dinner and Battlestar Gallactica in the living room until we finally fell asleep for the night.