Monday, January 29, 2007

Ice and Snow -- time to look UP -- jcarolek

Ice and snow are winter expectations. Those of us who live in the mid-Atlantic coastal region, thrill when we see the white stuff, and most of us are happy that we don’t have to see it day in and day out. But we miss some important lessons that those who live with more of this stuff just seem to know.

I learned the lesson one day when, after the power had been out for more than four days due to an ice/snow storm, we were finally able to get out to our truck which we had parked on the side of the main road and drive over to a friend’s house. Our intention was to get some much needed showers and clean up. Living in the woods with a well and pump for water, we are plumb out of luck when the power goes.

On our way to our friend’s house, my son announced that he’d forgotten his toothbrush. To turn back would have be a bigger ordeal than to simply stop at the drugstore on the way and buy him a new one.

My then-husband pulled the truck alongside the curb and Steve and I went in to select his toothbrush.

It was a beautiful day. You know the kind of day when the sky is so blue and the sun is so bright on the snow. Just, beautiful. The strip mall where the drugstore was housed had recently undergone renovations, including some pretty awesome looking copper roofs.

As Steve and I exited the store, I glanced up and saw the snow/ice on the roof was melting, and was dripping right where we would have normally walked to get to the truck. I opened my mouth and the words, “Steve, watch out,” were leaving my lips as he crossed under the drip. In a blink of an eye, or less, the entire roof full of snow/ice slid off the roof hitting Steve and knocking him to the ground.

He did not go down easily, for he had very nearly made it to the truck when it hit him. My daughter, inside the truck at the time, still says she didn’t realize what was happening. She just thought Steve was being goofy, but she said his face was smushed on the window as he went down. She was laughing her head off.

The impact of the ton of snow/ice that buried my then 14 year old son, was sufficient to break the side mirror and the antenna off the truck. We all sprang into action, unburying Steve, and getting help. He was left with hundreds of tiny cuts on his face, and some bumps and bruises. He swore he would be fine and the rescue squad recommended we let him go home and just observe him for signs of concussion. What I learned that day, I'm sure is no news to those who live where this white stuff is par for the course. But for those of us who consider it a welcome visitor, we need to understand when people say, be careful with the ice and snow, it should not just be down that we look. We must keep an eye up, too, lest the sun warms the roof sufficiently to send her unfamiliar blanket down in a hurry to cover the unsuspecting passerby.

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