For years, we drove across town to have Thanksgiving dinner with my parents, but now that my siblings and I represent the oldest generation in our family, we travel to my sister’s house in Wisconsin. The weather’s always dicey.
Seven years ago, we had a “family reunion” at a stop sign somewhere between Siren and Grantsburg in Wisconsin. Beautiful, fat snowflakes began to fall. We saw red taillights far ahead, as cars tried to stop on the road that had suddenly become a skating rink. My husband, who was driving his brand new car, said, “The roads are fine. Oh #%$! (expletive deleted)” We slid and slid and slid, right into the car ahead of us. My mom, in the back seat, had just had a hip replacement and I didn’t want to break her.” We could see my daughter and her boyfriend coming up too fast behind us, and then they slammed into us. We got out to assess the damage. My older brother wasn’t far behind us. We cheered as his van came into view, and screamed “No!” as we watched his van crash into another car. Miraculously, no one was injured.
Two years ago, we weren’t far from Siren on Thanksgiving morning, when a deer, in a panic to escape the hunters in the cornfield to our left, plowed into our car, and was killed instantly.
Last year, after a wonderful time with family, we noticed a few snowflakes drifting down as we left my sister’s house. We’re Minnesotans, so we don’t worry about a little snow. But the snow got heavier, and pretty soon, we couldn’t see more than a few feet ahead of us. Looking directly ahead was hypnotic and surreal. I kept my eyes on what I assumed was the right shoulder of the road. Bob was driving almost blind, but didn’t dare pull off the road. The snow drove so hard, straight at us, that at times we were completely stopped, thinking the car was moving because the force of the snow gave the sensation of movement.
What’s in store for us this year? We considered, as a family, cancelling Thanksgiving, but hope springs eternal. Or maybe we’re just slow learners. We’re all planning to go back, taking the same route. If the forecast is horrible, we’ll probably cancel, but if we do go, we’re bringing our PJs and toothbrushes.