A Scary Detail
I can still feel that chilly November wind as I recall the events of that night. Annette, my wife, walked in with our baby in her arms as I was just finishing changing him. His pajamas were covered in snow and ice, and he was howling in protest as she approached the changing table. It’s a strange thing to think of your firstborn son in terms of what he wants and needs as an adult, but it’s true nonetheless. His pajamas needed washing, and Annette just wanted to hold him and let him settle down before continuing with his infant bedtime routine. We didn’t have a car at the time, and it was starting to get dark. I remember thinking that it would be best to get him out of his wet clothes as soon as possible, but the thought of leaving him somewhere alone or in the car with just a diaper wasn’t appealing. There were a few people around, but no parents, and I didn’t feel comfortable leaving him there anyway.
Somewhere Over An Hours Drive
Our original plan was to take a leisurely drive up to Slinger, Wisconsin, and have a few quiet beers at Slick’s Bar and Grill. Annette was actually looking forward to getting out of the house, and our baby, Samuel, had just turned one year old. We left the house at 6:00 p.m. in good spirits, but not long after settling into our seats, the weather took a turn for the worse. The road ahead of us was covered in white. It wasn’t snow, but everything was coated in a thick layer of ice. You couldn’t make a move without risking a serious accident. It was terrifying, being stuck in that cold, white wasteland. Highway accidents were becoming the norm, and people were losing their lives. Some towns hadn’t even bothered to clear their driveways, meaning that cars were literally getting stuck in the snowstorm. There were large black patches on the road that were so thick you could walk across them without bending the branches of the trees growing on either side. It was a bad scene.
Panic & Terror
I had just started to wipe away the sleep from my eyes when Annette screamed. I thought maybe she’d been abducted by aliens, or that a crazed killer had broken into the car. I opened the door and threw myself out of the car, but she was just sitting there, clutching her baby and looking terrified. She had dropped her cell phone on the floor, and I quickly picked it up before it could break. She had called the sheriff’s department, and within minutes, a deputy had arrived and was asking questions. I tried to remain calm and tell him about the whiteout conditions and how I was afraid we’d get stuck in the snowstorm if we didn’t move our car immediately, but he seemed more concerned about my wife and son. The entire time, Samuel was howling like a madman. He was so scared he started vomiting, and Annette had to change him. I don’t know what the hell that deputy was thinking, leaving us stranded in the middle of nowhere with a baby in his arms. He should have known better. You can’t drop a newborn in the snow and leave him there without proper winter clothes. It’s not right. They should have known better than to leave our car on a snowy road in the first place. It was pure dumb luck that the car didn’t slide off the road and hit a tree. Thank goodness for drivers who are more attentive than troopers these days. Thankfully, we made it to the bar in one piece, despite the fact that it took us almost three hours to cover the 20 miles from where we left off. It was pitch black when we finally got there, and I was so relieved when I saw the bar’s bright lights through the snowstorm. It was the perfect place for us to be for the duration of the night. Samuel was starting to fall asleep in his mother’s arms, with his thumb in his mouth. I ordered a rum and Diet Coke for myself, and my wife had a glass of wine. We sat there for a while, sharing our relief and commiserating about the terrible night we just experienced. It was truly horrific. I’ve never been more scared in my entire life. We were lucky to be alive, and we’ve never been more grateful for our spouses’ love and support. That’s what helped us get through it all. It was a good night to be with the people you love the most. Life can still be incredibly dangerous, but you have to keep living it to truly appreciate how precious it is when things go well.