I love meals cooked by someone else, especially when I don’t have to do dishes. Apparently I will even make death-defying trips to get to one.
On Saturday night Groom-boy and I set out for his New Year’s staff party in Ottawa. His employer holds it after the holiday craziness has subsided.
We cleaned up real nice. I even wore pantyhose and, as per my New Year’s resolution to respect my Hair Management Program™, my locks looked lovely. Not a grey, silver or white strand to be found.
We shipped the kids off to my parents’ house for a sleepover so we wouldn’t have to rush home. With Groom-boy at the wheel, we headed east on Hwy. 7 toward the Nation’s Capital.
Right away we noticed flashing lights in the distance. It was a police car, and either the officer wasn’t in a huge hurry or couldn’t go fast because the cruiser didn’t gain much on us as we travelled.
We soon realized why. Although a freezing rain warning for the area had ended, the roads were a bit slippery. We slowed down. We met a westbound salt truck, but it didn’t seem as if our lane had been done yet.
After about 20 minutes we came upon emergency crews, including the police car, attending to a smashed-up van in a clearing. It looked as if it had rolled.
We slowed down even more. The roads didn’t seem awful, but we had a party to go to and preferred to avoid the ditch.
We chatted happily as we travelled toward our destination. A few kilometres after the accident, however, Groom-boy suddenly asked, “Am I swerving because of ice or the wind?”
As if on cue, the car in front of us started to fishtail wildly and then, in slow motion, to spin. Headlights! Tail-lights! Headlights! Tail-lights!
I’m gonna guess it’s the ice, Groom-boy.
The car did at least one full 360 and ended up sideways across the entire opposite lane. Groom-boy managed to stop without spinning or colliding with anything, as did the three or four cars behind us.
And then we all sat there – stunned.
I imagine the driver of the other car was terrified and possibly disoriented, but it was a scary several seconds that he sat there, not moving, before finally creeping forwards to park on the shoulder of the opposite side of the road, facing traffic.
Given the fact we were on glare ice on a curve, with who knows how many cars approaching from either direction and precarious icy-looking shoulders on either side, we chose to crawl forwards, hearts pounding, and continue east.
I developed an immediate headache.
As we crept around the rest of curve, two westbound transports barrelled towards us – fast enough that we assumed the salt in their lane was working. We paled as we thought about what could have happened if those trucks had come along before the spinning car was out of their lane.
It was scary.
We considered turning around, but the farther east we travelled, the better the roads became. I consulted with Mr. George BlackBerry, Executive Assistant, to see if I could glean any information on road conditions, but there wasn’t much to find.
“I’m thinking it’s a bit icy,” I concluded with a nervous laugh. “We should probably proceed cautiously.”
And so we did. After all, there was free food waiting.
We arrived without further incident. As we mingled with Groom-boy’s co-workers and told them about our alarming journey to the party, most were surprised to hear about the road conditions. It seemed as if that one stretch of a highway – the skating rink – was an isolated thing.
Later, someone commented there were fewer people at the party than the year before and speculated it may have been because of the freezing rain warning. “Ha!” I said. “We risked our lives to come to this party!”
The food was great. Someone else took away our dishes to clean them. The roads were bare and dry for the trip home.
I bet, though, my hair is even whiter than before.
Published in The Perth Courier, Jan. 12/12