Well, the snow yesterday didn’t really amount to anything. During the day, at least. All the advisories and concerns and near warnings about a terrible commute home were unfounded, and I picked up Cheri and drove home on nearly dry streets. We actually had the window shades open during supper, and again remarked that the meteorologists must have muffed it again.
Chere went to bed around nine, as usual, and there was a tiny bit of snow falling – sort of like background snow, which only showed up when we turned on the outside light.
I went to bed at 10pm, and as I went to shut the window shades, I noticed that the snow had picked up a bit. Not much, but some. As is sometimes the case, around midnight, I got up and got a glass of water. I happened to glance out one open window, and what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a pretty decent, nearly raging snowstorm! Looking out another window, I saw that the driveway was completely white, and the sidewalks, also white, showed only slight indentations from the snow on the ground. Who’d a thunk?
Between 2:30 and 3am, I was again awakened, only this time, it was to the sound of scraping. Beautiful, lovely scraping. You see, for years living in the northland, when snow was predicted, it meant I would bundle up before dawn, carry my trusty 30 pound steel snow shovel outside, and move the snow off the driveway so we could get out and get to work often after the sun came up (but not always!) Finally, in 2001, I broke down and purchased our very own snowblower – a bit brute that weighed more than Cheri ever did, and with ability to grind through the newly dropped drifts on the driveway. This was a great idea, except when my job meant that I was going to be spending a number of night away, especially in the winter. The boys were still too young to run the blower, and there was no way my bride was going to be able to wrangle it.
I then made the best decision of my life, outside of going into ministry and marrying Cheri. The gal that cut our hair on a regular basis was part of a team along with her husband, and they would clear out driveways and sidewalks after snows. The price seemed right, so we contracted with them to take on the care of our winter outside…
Since then, when I have had to travel, I could do so with the wonderful assurance that Cheri would be taken care of, driveway wise, and I also would avoid the possibility of dropping over while moving tons of snow, even with a beast of a snowblower.
So, at 2:30 this morning, with the snow done falling, to hear what must have been elves in the night, scraping away the snow, and the hearing a pickup with a blade clear off the entire driveway – it was a sweet sound, to be sure.
But that’s not my story. For the first time in a while, I actually had to scrape ice off my windshield before we could drive it anywhere. I needed to take it to the garage to get some maintenance done. Now, we live south of 32nd avenue, and the folks that clear the streets must be paid much better than the folks north of 32nd, because our streets were wonderfully clear. I dropped Cheri off, and then headed further north to the car place.
It took me half a block before I ended up behind a blue van (aren’t they all blue?) driving about 10mph. Now, I don’t speed, but the speed limit is 35 on that road, and so I felt for a moment that I was in a parade. When I was able to go around her, from my seat, I could see the steering wheel being crushed under the grip of fear by a middle aged woman who most likely did not want to be driving…
I went on, and within a block, ended up behind another parade float. Unfortunately, I needed to turn from that lane to another street, so I bided my time. She actually went right when I went left, so I was free to assume normal speed. Yes, it was a bit slick, but we weren’t driving Model As, or 1970 Cadillacs with rear wheel drive. Another two blocks, and parade float number three was in front of me. This was a red Camry, driven by an admittedly scared new friend to Fargo from Africa. He actually was driving slower than 10mph, and when it came to turn left, he nearly stopped in the intersection. You would think he was driving on one of those mountain passes in Bolivia or something.
I am mostly patient, but this morning, I was passed off from one driver to another in front of me, none of them going over 15mph. Caution is one thing, but if you are just plain terrified to drive on anything other than dry pavement, then park the car! Or call an Uber! I finally, once again, broke free from the parade route, and got to the dealer, and got the maintenance done.
My next job was to go to the grocery store – another one of my cherished tasks. Sure enough, with three blocks to go before my turn, on a 40mph, five lane city street, I ended up behind the parade marshal, going 30mph. Just when I thought I was free, and put on the right blinker to turn, so did she. This street now was only three lanes wide, and 30mph – actually way too slow for the street, but that didn’t matter. As she drove 30 on a 40mph, on the 30mph street, she then reduced her speed to 20mph.
You know, I made a rule when we lived in Nashville, that when the weather got bad, I stayed home. Not out of fear that I couldn’t navigate, but out of caution for those who truly are self-created hazards. Now, this is Fargo – in February – so it wasn’t like this was the first snow of the season, nor even the first ice. I was glad for their concern, but I am going to watch the weather and road reports more carefully, and when we get another one of these kinds of days, I’ll just stay in the driveway, and make vroom sounds while I sit in the car. It’s both safer, and far less frustrating!
On the road to a significant life, and driving in the car of intentionality (did you like that imagery?), it’s important to take assessment of your surroundings, and to find the route that helps you get where you want to go with the greatest convenience and safety. That being said, there indeed are times you should just park, and wait for a while. We heard the news today of Tiger Woods involved in a one-car crash this morning. The only plausible explanation is that he was either driving too fast, or too emotional for the road. I dare not drive that way – nor should you, so unless there is a dire emergency, which happens so rarely that we could hardly count one, it’s best to drive a sensible life, a reason-able life, a response-able life, or to just stay home and have another great cup of coffee, and plan your day differently.
Word for the day: conjubilant. Pronounced kahn-JEW-bill-unt. It’s an easy word to figure out, but it is such a neat word that it needs a place today. From the Latin roots, of com, meaning “with” and jubilare, which sounds like what it should – “shout for joy.” Conjubilant describes what happens when you and I are so happy about something, or so full of wonder and excitement about what is happening, that together, we “shout for joy,” It’s as simple as that. It’s like singing with the angels, or being in a large room, where everyone is singing the Hallelujah Chorus together. We are also conjubilant with the birth of a baby, or as we applaud a new married couple, or even something as mundane as winning the ND boys hockey championship. Everyone, at least on one side, will be “conjubilant” then, for sure!
After 43 years of ministry, Randy Cross lived his "fourth life" and shared about retirement, living boldly and intentionally in our world. To be sure, there was some North Dakota thrown in.