"Will we have a class on Wednesday" asked a couple of students last week, hoping that I would cancel the meeting because the day after that was Thanksgiving Thursday.
"Of course, we will meet" I told them. "Rain or shine, I will be here" I added.
We met on Wednesday. Two students brought doughnuts for the entire class. We had an oversupply of goodness!
It was now the Monday morning after the long four day break from school. The radio reported that a few schools south and west of us had closed for the day because of freezing rain.
"Freezing rain?" I checked the weather report for where I was headed--yes, freezing rain.
"Rain or shine, I will be here" or canceling class were the options.
I started driving.
It was a dry 27 when I left home. A few minutes later, little drops fell. Ice on the windshield. It was now a damp 28.
A slow drive it was. "No sharp turns" I reminded myself.
A few miles in, I saw the first of the three casualties--a car in the ditch.
"Am I being stupid to drive to work today?" But, I continued on. I had by now joined a caravan of slow moving cars and trucks. It felt good to have company. "If they are with me, then I can make it."
The truck in the other direction had the hazard lights on as it approached us, and as it kept going. I figured the driver was warning us about something ahead. The traffic was slowing down. I was impressed with my fellow-drivers. We were such good drivers--slow speeds, lots of gap between vehicles, and all the safety protocols in place. There is hope.
I could see the flashing lights of the cops. And then the sight of another car in the ditch. An older man was walking up the grade to the road.
It could have easily been me in the ditch, as it happened once a few years ago. Thankfully, only that once. I felt sorry for the older man.
Any given day, any disaster can strike any of us. A tiny error in judgment is all that it takes. Shit happens! We fail to understand and appreciate how fortunate we are when things are "normal."
The class made it all worth.
The weather the rest of the week will be back to normal for this time of the year--no freezing rain and black ice.
As the Monday fades away in the rear-view mirror, memories of this white-knuckle experience will also fade away. I suppose it is a good thing that the human mind forgets most of the bad experiences--else, humanity would never take risks of any kind.
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