I am a big fan of the South. Born and raised in North Carolina, I love the heat and despise the cold and am quite happy living somewhere we only occasionally get winter snow.
But I love my sister even more than I hate the cold, so here I am in Oregon – in December – to visit her and meet the newest addition to her family.
And I’m not sure I’m going to make it home.
First they tried to freeze us all to death in Seattle with a walk out to a prop plane in 30 degree rain. Being the unprepared southerner I am, my jacket was tidily tucked away in my inaccessible luggage. And let me tell you – a thin cotton shirt and jeans aren’t exactly ideal cold weather gear. Luckily, there were so many people crammed into the tiny plane to take us from Seattle to Portland that the ambient temperature quickly reached sauna levels and I was happy again.
And then we landed in Portland. And my brother-in-law informed me that the ice storm that had been threatening wasn’t as bad as they had feared, but that he had plenty of blankets and food and water stashed in the car just in case we got stranded on the 60 mile trip to their house. Oh, and that the wind was so bad along the Columbia River Gorge that he had to stop twice on the trip to the airport. And that they had just gotten new tires on the car but that he had forgotten they needed new windshield wipers, but they weren’t that bad and we would be fine.
See where I’m going with this? I live in a place whose highways shut down if there’s a snowflake spotted. The idea of driving 60 miles down a twisty, old, scenic highway at midnight in car that I think was considered new last century during a “not as bad as we thought” freezing rain is not really my idea of a good time.
But I really love my sister.
So we got on the road and headed for home.
And as we finally – finally, thank you Lord – pulled into their street, John said how glad he was that the drive had been so easy after all And I pried my stiffened fingers off the oh shit handle and told him that I thought it was the most nerve wracking drive I had ever been on and I was terrified pretty much the whole time. There were a few instances that I know I would have pulled over and sat with my flashers on until conditions improved, probably sometime early next May.
All I can hope is that the freezing rain and snow turns back into Oregon’s traditional just rain in time for me to head home in a few days. And that Jessie has enough warm clothes to cover my woefully unprepared, absolutely freezing self in the interim.
I don’t think that’s too much for this fish out of water to ask.