This game had it all: tenseness, viewer participation, daredevil driving, urgency, pathos, empathy…Can you name some more? I was most fortunate in that I had been pre-trained in 1980 (or somewhere in that time period) by a snow storm in Marietta that came in around lunch time and caused a terrific traffic jam. I had been driving home to Rome, Ga. at that time, then and I got home about 1:30 the next morning. I have always remembered driving into Rome and there being no one on the street, just snow and ice.
On Tuesday, January 28, 2014, I had two appointments for follow up procedures at Emory hospital in Midtown Atlanta—one at nine a.m. and another at two in the afternoon. I had been watching the weather and it made me think of the storm in 1980. We decided to take the car because our two-wheel-drive pick up truck would be useless in ice or snow. Still remembering 1980, I packed as much gas into the Chevy Tracker as it would hold. A few bottles of water in the back seat, and we were set to go. We chose a parking lot that had almost instant access to the interstate.
The morning appointment was over with quickly. One of the things I like about Emory is that I seldom have to wait for my appointment. Dekie and I then proceeded to use up time until the p.m. visit with the doctor. We went for a walk down Peachtree Street.
I thought I would get a picture of Sweetie in front of the famous Fox Theater. I also noticed the absence of any significant traffic which is odd for Peachtree Street. It was a nice morning. We walked around looking in the windows and enjoying the sights. We spent some time gazing at the coming attractions and the ornate decorations inside the Fox entrance. We checked out the menus in front of several eating establishments and decided which one we would visit at 11;45.
A few snowflakes were falling as we entered the Italian restaurant. While we visited and dined, I could not help but notice that all of a sudden there was quite a bit of traffic on the road. A lot of cars had piles of snow on them, too. We really enjoyed the lunch. Then we headed back to Emory but the picture at the fox was different this time.
And talking about not having to wait for a doctor’s appointment, when we entered the office area, the nurse opened the door and called us in before I could even start to fill out the survey form.
“That was quick,” I observed, speaking to the nurse.
“You’re the only one here,” she replied.
From the ninth floor of the clinic we were able to watch the snow fall on the roads and the rooftops. If you look closely you can see I-75 with traffic that was increasing every minute.
One of the funny things was that the doctor had gone at lunch time to pick her children up from school and had gotten stuck in the traffic. I had another appointment the following week so it was no problem. I got a thorough going over from the most capable nurse practitioner and we headed out into the elements. Traffic was heavy but everyone was polite. We made it down a hill to the entrance ramp and slid onto the interstate heading home. After I was creeping along on the highway it dawned on me that there was no getting off. All of the exit ramps were blocked with more traffic.
In the 1980 snow storm no one knew where I was, when I would be home, or if I was, indeed, still alive. In 2014 we had instant communication with voice, text, and email. What a difference that made. Family members called and told us to get off the highway and get a room. The actuality of that was that first off, there was no way to get off, and secondly, there were no rooms to be had between Miami and Detroit. We were committed.
The road was icy and slick as we headed north. In a few instances the only way to move was in a controlled skid. It took us 8 hours to get from mid town Atlanta to the other side of Marietta where an altercation between a semi truck and a bus had caused a lot of problems. This was just getting cleared as we arrived.
And then, right past Marietta, there was very little traffic and I was able to drive at a comfortable 25 miles per hour. I was interested to see miles and miles of trucks on the southbound side of 75 that were parked on the shoulder. I assume they were too smart to enter the Atlanta traffic or that they had been told to stop.
It’s funny how the story ended much like the 1980 one did. At around one a.m., we rode into good old Rome, Georgia. As in 1980, there was not a car on the road. I was happy to be home.
The next day brought a different world. The coon dog got a walk in the snow, children sledded down the hill in front of the church on Martha Berry Highway, and I thought, “God’s in his heaven and all’s right with the world.” (That’s usually my optimistic view on things anyway. You may define God as you wish.)
I thought the following picture of Oakwood Street was reminiscent of a past experience. That could easily be a 1980 Dodge pick up truck in the neighbor’s driveway.
There was also the giant snow of ’93 and part of it is chronicled in my wonderful book Requiem for a Redneck which you can click here to order for your kindle reader
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