Off-the-wallBy Bob Spiwak

My wife is a lot smarter than I. Anyone who knows us will tell you, as will my children and theirs. I won’t deny it, although I use dotage as an alibi.

This was further illustrated recently during a snowstorm that left a foot of snow here in West Boesel (east of Mazama), and some vehicles were inconvenienced. For years she has touted kitty litter as a solution to spinning wheels for cars mired in the snow. It was the snow and ice base beneath that confirmed her intellect.

One of the vehicles was an elderly Lincoln with front-wheel drive. I was able to bomb out of the carport far enough to get stuck. Even after clearing the mounds of snow with a shovel, the car went nowhere, offering a sickening howl each time the accelerator activated either reverse or forward drives. Even a sheet of studded hard rubber would not help the one spinning wheel.

Gloria to the rescue. Armed with her shovel and a bag of kitty litter she carries in her car, she tactfully suggested utilizing the latter. My mouth said OK, my brain sneered. We did a little shoveling, then poured the poop-grabber behind the wheels, maybe a handful for each. That was all it took and the beast was released from its icy prison.

Next day, I went to work on the ancient 1988 Volkswagen, now the wiser and with a better shovel. I knew this beast had rear-wheel drive and I flattened 10 inches of snow down to the ice and even some gravel to be able to back it from the garden and to a wide turn-around behind.

This maneuver took over an hour. I started the engine, casually put it in reverse and stepped on the accelerator. No luck, just a whine. I stepped harder and the louder whine scared the dog away.

I got out and looked. I was wrong. The old rig also had front-wheel drive.

Off to Gloria’s car I went, got the bag of litter, dug out the front wheels, littered the depression and away it went — into a pile of snow I’d built up shoveling out that end. More shoveling and then more kitty litter.

Long story short, Ron Fraser was delivering the mail and saw the distressing scene. He is an auto racer and knows cars, and offered his assistance. He rocked the front of the car and it came free. Thanks again, kitty litter. And to Ron as well, offering help on the busiest work week at the post office.

The only vehicle left for release is the truck. I know it has rear-wheel drive and the whole thing is semi-buried in snow. My wife will know what to do.