Christmas, Part the Second


[Suck Creek Mountain TN]

To grandmother’s house we did go…..

Almost three days after the onslaught of one of the biggest midwestern winter storms in a while, we loaded up the truck and headed to The Mountain.

Ordinarily, we travel south, through Sikeston, so we can pick up lunch at Lambert’s. That involves some back road driving through some of the area that got hit the hardest by the storm. This trip, we decided to go through Mt. Vernon, south from there to Paducah, and on to The Mountain.

As we drove, we could see the snow on the side of the road dramatically increase over a twenty mile span west of Mt. Vernon. From there, the snow stayed heavy on the side of the road, and the number of abandoned, snow-bound vehicles climbed. We eventually counted forty vehicles — cars, trucks and tractor trailers — that had been abandoned where they landed after sliding off the road, some upright, some on their sides, and all planted in the heavy snow and ice.

The worst stretch of road was the stretch south of Paducah, which was the same forty miles or so of I-24 that had been closed all day Thursday and Friday for vehicle removal and snow clearing. Folks stuck in that mess were in their vehicles for almost two days, with little or no movement. There’s little around those parts, so lodging and food were scarce.

I was amazed at how much I was reminded of Colorado as we drove through snowbound Kentucky. For some reason, it resonated with the sights I remember from our trips out west, and once again, made me think of travelling west.

In any case, we made it to The Mountain, and came up with a little list of things to be thankful for out of our Christmas travel.

  • Thanks to folks at Denny’s in Mt. Vernon for being open on Christmas morning, and having hot coffee ready for us.
  • Thanks to the road crews that were out doing their work, clearing the roads for the rest of us who were trying to get to our families.
  • Thanks to most of the other drivers who were driving courteously, and not trying to drive through the snow and ice like it was the dry pavement of the Indy 500.
  • For those that did drive like idiots, thanks for the entertainment.
  • Thanks to the gas stations for being open. This was the biggest worry, because I knew I couldn’t make it on one tank. (Gas was high on the trip — a cheap $1.499 in St. Louis to a high $1.799 in Tennessee.)
  • And most of all, I am thankful for my family, who really make Christmas wonderful for all of us.

We arrived at Mom’s, settled in, and decided that we should go ahead with Christmas, exchanging our gifts under her tree. And again, it was a generous, wonderful Christmas, my second in two days. I was overwhelmed emotionally with some of the gifts, and chuckled right along with others. It was a Wright family Christmas in all its glory, and I was happy and thankful to be front and center for another one, along with my family.