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Snow Storms And Fathers

Back in 1983 my wife got pregnant with my son Blake. We didn't have insurance at the time so in desperation I went to Odessa Texas to work in the oil fields to pay for his birth.

I got a job with a company called Western Corporation, a fracking company. My job was to drive an 18 wheeler "sand can".

I had no experience. So I got a one week "crash" course and on the road I went.

1983/84 was the worst winter I had ever seen. About 2 weeks after I started I found myself 100 miles from home in backwoods (desert) rural New Mexico, on my own, during a snow storm. The phone lines were down, radio was down. There was nothing to do but try to get home. Or sit there with the motor running until I ran out of diesel and froze to death.

So I got on the interstate and went about 15 miles an hour or less the whole way. I couldn't see more than 50 yards ahead of me. I passed at least 100 ditched cars and trucks. Picked up 3 different people and dropped them off on the way.

Rural New Mexico and Texas is different than Alabama. There will be a small town and then nothing, I mean absolutely nothing for the next 20 miles.

So for about 8 hours I was driving a big hulking truck that I had no business even operating, in a snow storm, icy roads and freezing cold, white knuckles and a cold boulder in the pit of my stomach, passing destruction and chaos all the way. It was surreal. I felt like it wasn't even me driving, that I had an angel on my shoulder.

This was probably the most terrifying point in my life.

I finally made it to the outskirts of Odessa and a truck stop restaurant where the phone lines were working. I called my father to come get me because I was exhausted, worn out and I had started shaking uncontrollably and couldn't really function anymore.

I remember being so thankful that he would get out in the storm and come get me. But he did, right away, without question. Fathers are like that.

I haven't even thought about this adventure in years. It still seems like a bad dream.

The picture above is from another time when, once again, Blake got my butt in another snow storm adventure when I went to get him and his dogs from Idaho when he got out of the Air Force. Fathers are like that.

The people I picked up. Two were a couple that had wrecked their truck. I dropped them off at a tiny little police station after about 5 miles. The other was a Mexican who didn't speak English. He rode the last 20 miles or so all the way to the truck stop. He was just walking on the side of the road when I picked him up. He was dressed like an Eskimo, but was still about to freeze to death. He was thanking me and praying the whole time. The last I saw of him he was chowing down in the truck stop restaurant smiling and waving at me thru the window as I left with daddy.

I did live with my father at the time. I remember when we got home I got in the bed, got warm and it was one of the most satisfying moments of my life.

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Living the good life in Southeast Alabama, father, grandfather, cancer survivor, part-time writer, and webmaster - Read More

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