We’d been snowed in away from home for four days, visiting Mom and helping her out, and it was time to make a move. Our cats were likely close to be running out of food (we hadn’t planned on being gone quite that long), I’m never sure about the plumbing in this house, and Nicole and I each had some urgent business to deal with in Columbia. Trouble was, as we sank into sleep Monday night, the entire 220-some miles of highway we’d have to travel was, according to MODOT, covered or partially covered with snow, and the temps were hitting their lowest–and that was low.
Between my dreams of talking to (then fleeing) a school shooter and visiting with Rebecca Wimer-Pisano and her husband Frank in their nomadic pop-up trailer about what movie we were going to go see (and never deciding), I dreamed we slid off I-44 into a snow drift in the median and kept slowly sliding toward the oncoming lane. I only had t-shirt, socks, and slippers on, but all I could think about was…cats. Seriously, we’d had a couple of vehicular adventures on ice and snow we did not want to repeat–and those were on torrid 20-degree days. My stomach was churning as we backed out of Mom’s drive way.
Most of the 220-some miles were clear; maybe a third were partially covered, with at least one lane going our way clear. We poured a gallon of Mardi Gras music into our ears as accelerant for our relief. The cats and pipes were fine, though they’d rearranged all of our area rags and redecorated with some well-placed hairballs. Also, Chad Ferguson, the son of our good friends Denise and Dennis, sent me his band’s new vinyl record for my (upcoming) birthday, which was leaning against the front door when we hit the top of our steps.
It’s hard being separated from family by many miles in these times, especially when they’re hurting. Thanks again, and always, to the chosen wing of our family structure: the Carlin, Dickens, and Garrett families (plus Jeanne, Kathy, and Jerry). And to a biological wing that’s closer geographically than we are, the Hague and Insley families. Completely without hyperbole, we could not be doing this without you.
Streaming for Strivers:
Also leaning against my front door when we returned, a vinyl copy of this great documentary project from the 1970s, recorded by Bloods author Wallace Terry. Black oral history.