H. Neal Glanville
H. Neal Glanville's column appears in the Craig Daily Press
It was early April, and the signs of cabin fever were everywhere. Doors being slammed, harder and harder. Senseless arguments, starting with sarcastic snaps at each other. My favorite symptom: watching three little girls drawing pictures on frost covered windows.
Then, one morning, the order came down.
We were going for a ride.
"We're not riding in your old truck, and we're not going fishing, hunting, or exploring. Am I clear?" my former wife snapped. "We're going for a ride and only a ride. Do you understand me?" she barked again.
Memories of a forgotten Army drill instructor flashed before me. My lips almost said "Yes, Sergeant," but my brain pushed "yes, ma'am out first." Thank heaven for that small miracle.
Since we'd been banned from the truck, we all climbed aboard my "former's" new green Volkswagen. Off we went in search of the elusive cure for cabin fever.
Now, as most "bug" owners will tell you, those little cars will go just about anywhere you point them. So I pointed the little green beast up the Knez Divide Road.
Getting stuck that "warm" afternoon never crossed my feeble little mind. The ride up the divide was beautiful; the bare ground showed signs of green. Spring most certainly was on its way.
As you near the top of the divide road, there are several quick turns that I took at full speed - sliding into the little devils and power sliding my way out. The girls and I thought it was fun fish-tailing back and forth down the muddy road. Our laughter was rudely interrupted when the right tire caught a deep snow covered rut, and the car shot into the knee deep snow.
Yup, we were stuck. Not just stuck-stuck, we were high-centered stuck. The girls wanted to get out and play in the snow while I was digging the car out. Their mother wanted her car out. No matter what it took, she wanted her car out and she wanted it out now. Digging in that soft spring snow was easy, and it took no time at all to get to the frozen mound of mud the car was balanced on. As life would have it, a hopeful moment came upon me. Maybe, just maybe we could rock the car out. I loaded the girls up and gave the "former" a quick lesson in the art of rockin' a car back and forth.
As I stepped toward the rear of the car, I pointed out a high spot on the road and said "just make it there and stop. I'll turn the car around and get us home."
I must admit, on paper and out loud, the "former" was getting close to getting that little green devil out. Just as I felt the tires bite solid I yelled "give her all she's got." The "former" did, and the car shot forward like it knew what it was doing. It didn't.
We were now beyond dig out stuck. We were beyond kick, yell and scream stuck. We were at the make-your-own-way-home-the-best-you-can stuck.
My "former" decided to exercise her right to panic. It didn't matter we could see the lights of town flicking on. It didn't matter it was two miles, maybe four, to the main road.
"We were all going to freeze to death tonight and nobody would find us till summertime," she bugled, "and it's all your fault" the Italian finger of death pointing right at me.
I looked at the girls, the road home and lastly the green beast.
"Get the girls on that dry spot, and gather all the blankets out of the car," I ordered. "We can't possibly walk out," their mom snapped, "We'll all freeze to death."
"Nobody is going to freeze to death, and nobody's walking out" I tried to say calmly.
"But the girls" she retorted.
"The girls are going for a sleigh ride all the way down to the bottom."
"We didn't bring a sleigh you :" I interrupted her as I pulled the tool box from the car.
"Yes we did" I said as I started unbolting the hood from the car. "Come-on girls, who wants to go for the longest sleigh ride in history?"
Three giggling girls climbed aboard that "VW" sled, and off we went. Me pulling and the "former" talking to the girls as they slid down the road. As we neared the bottom, a pair of headlights exposed us to the night.
"You folks need a little help?" the old rancher asked.
"A ride to town would sure help," I said with relief.
"Well, let's get some hot cocoa into those kids" the old rancher said. "Then I'll haul you into town. Sound good?"
"Yes sir," I said.
"But my car, can we go get my car?" The former asked.
"What kind is it?" the old rancher asked.
"A brand new Volkswagen" my former wife snapped.
"Well ma'am, in this country there's not much call for a hoodless Volkswagen," he said smiling "I think it will be ok till morning, now how about that hot cocoa?"
Not only did that rancher give us a hot drink and a ride into town, he came back into town the next morning, drove me back up the divide and pulled the car out. His last words to me as I headed home were "most folks don't go over the hill till mid-May, something you might want to think about next spring."
"Yes sir" I said "mid-May.
Until next time :
Yup. There I was all by myself, when I said to myself "Self" I said ('cuz that's what I call myself when I'm talking to myself) "There's still nobody coming forward with answers about the Craig Medical Clinic."
Thank you for your time.