We experienced some snow last year. We played in it for about 20 minutes. Went to a movie. Came out and all the snow was gone. Had we not seen the snow we never would have known that it happened. This year was a different experience. There was a prediction for snow in Alabama but it was all south of us. We were told it would be a dusting in our area. My preschool partner called me to see if we wanted to cancel preschool. I said we should wait and see what the morning was like. They had predicted the dusting to happen around 8:00 am. At 8:30 am there was still nothing. So we headed out to preschool. Logan has slept in that morning so I wasn’t going to give him a morning nap. I was going to go Thrift shopping and was so excited. Rocky had been on call the night before so I was going to be super nice and not come home until like 1:00 and give him hours of quite time to sleep the morning away. Well by the time we got to preschool there were a few flurries. What I would consider a dusting. Nothing to worry about. I went to the thrift store. There were a few more flurries but still I considered it a dusting. So Logan and I took our time and hunted for some treasures. After an hour we decided it was time to get to the next store before heading to pick up James. There was a significant amount of “dusting” snow on the ground. But I really wasn’t worried. I had seen and driven through much more snow many times before in my Utah/Ohio lives. We headed out to the next store which was is like a minute away from the other store. It was closed…due to the weather. I thought it was odd. But decided I would start heading back towards James preschool. I turned on to Valley Ave – towards HWY 280. I drove on it a little bit – but it was going super slow. I saw a fire truck that looked like it was horizontal on the road so I figured there was a crash. So I flipped around and headed the other direction to get on the freeway. But after thinking about it I turned around again to head back towards James preschool. It was about 20 minutes away. The roads were starting to get slick and the traffic and slowed to almost a stop. I needed to go 1 mile and then turn right to get to HWY 280. It took me 2.5 hours to get to where I would turn right. Since I had 32oz of water in the morning and hadn’t made a bathroom break since the drinking I was feeling like I was in a TIGHT spot. Logan had been crying for about an hour. 2.5 hours is a long time to sit and look at the same thing. There was a Walgreens at the corner I was supposed to turn. I decided to stop there. Get some supplies and then head out again. When I turned the corner I could see all these cars that weren’t able to make it up the hill to the Walgreens. So I decided to wait it out a bit in Walgreens. I bought a toy for Logan and some snacks for both of us. We set up camp in the back of the store at the pharmacy. I met some awesome ladies who were talking about spending the night at Walgreens. I thought they were crazy and that I would be able to make it home that night. I was wrong and Walgreens decided to close at 4:00 pm. So we had a to find a place to go…a place that was walkable with an 18 month old. My new winter storm best friends and I found a hotel nearby, packed up all the necessities that we had with us – which wasn’t much. If I had really thought through the process I would have picked up a lot more at Walgreens. (I bought diapers, wipes, a cup with a straw for Logan, snacks, socks, a pair of hard soled slippers, I was wearing tiny little flats at the time, when I realized I would be walking in the snow I purchased a pair of 3 sizes too small rain boots, a scarf, another pair of socks and water. I packed up Logan in my baby carrier (so glad I had it), stuffed my stuff into a bag, met up with my friends and we started our trek. It was a little less than a mile away so it wasn’t too bad. But boy was it cold. I was so glad I was wearing my coat that I almost didn’t wear that morning. A hispanic man joined us on our trek and helped us carry bags and picked us up when we fell (luckily I wasn’t the one that fell) He was only wearing a sweatshirt and jeans. He was trying to figure out how to get to his kids. A couple of kind men saw us and offered to give us a ride the rest of the way to the hotel. We had to put our name on a waiting list to get a room at the hotel. While we were waiting Logan fell and split his lip. It looked terrible and deep. I was super worried but fortunately there was a pediatric nurse who was also waiting for a room right by us. So she checked him out and said he would be fine. Luckily a room became available for the 4 of us. It had a king bed and a separate room with a couch bed. The ladies took the King bed – they knew each other from work. Logan and I took the room with the couch. Logan was a champ for the most part. We spent lots of time walking all over the hotel. Logan went to sleep really well. But decided to wake up right when I tried to lay down to go to sleep. I blame that on the couch bed which made noise if you breathed. So Logan and I spent the night waking each other up when we moved in the bed. It was a long night. James was at my friend’s house and having the best time until he realized that it was night and I wasn’t coming to get him. He called to say goodnight and cried and kept asking why I couldn’t come and get him. It was heartbreaking. HEARTBREAKING. I wanted to get him so bad. He didn’t sleep well either – meaning my friends didn’t sleep well either. I was so grateful he was at a friends house and not stuck with me. Rocky had slept most of the day. I did wake him up with a phone call to help out another friend who was in a stressful situation. It didn’t take him too long and he was back at home, sleeping. I don’t think he understood the magnitude of what was happening. He was determined to go to work the next morning and I was furious that he even thought that was possible. He hadn’t been out there to see all the people abandoning their cars in the middle of the road or cars slipping and sliding all over the place. People walked miles and miles to get home or to get somewhere warm. The next morning after watching all the traffic reports it looked like I would be at the hotel one more night. I was feeling so bummed about it. I just wanted my family home. Rocky had made it to work just fine. I had friends who were trying to come and get me but they couldn’t make it out of their neighborhoods. When I called Rocky to tell him I was planning on staying another night he said “No, just leave now. You can make it home. If I can make it you can. It is silly for you to be there when you can get home.” I was nervous but decided that I needed to try. I packed up quickly and started walking back to my car. A man had pity on me and gave me a ride back to my car after I had walked about half way. I was so grateful. I got Logan packed in the car went to a gas station to fill up and started home. The way I had planned to go was pretty smooth until they closed the road and directed me a different way. I’m not super familiar with the area so I called up my real estate agent/friend and asked him to help me get home. I started one way and he told me to turn around and try the other way. So I turned around and headed the other way. I was going to call him when I got to a certain point. He called me back quickly and said he was talking to his friend who I also happen to visit teach and said that she was heading the same way as me and was just a few minutes ahead of me. So they talked me through getting home…and I made it much faster than I ever thought possible. I saw abandoned cars all along the way. I saw a couple cars tipped on their sides in the ditch. It was crazy. Rocky had gone a different way – long way around way and we made it to the same intersection within a minute of each other. He stopped at Walmart. There was a line to get in. They were only letting in a few people at a time. When he got home he headed out quickly to try to pick up James. It was the longest 40 minutes of my life. I thought it was going to take hours. They made it quickly and safely. It was absolutely amazing to see all the HELPERS in this situation. People are good and kind. Most people want to help. Lots of people go above and beyond. I saw people leave their cars to help others in their cars. I saw people passing out warm clothes to those who had none. I was blessed by two ladies who became my protectors and friends. I saw a man spend hours directing traffic to make sure others made it through a muddy/slick spot – and when they didn’t make it through he got behind and pushed. I saw people who in most cases would never meet become the best of friends over a period of hours. I learned about others families and churches. I saw people praying, praying for their family and others. I have never been so sure that the Lord cares and it watching out for his children. I have felt so grateful and so loved by many many people especially my Heavenly Father.
Story written by: Joni
This story appeared first on Real Imprints.