I drove my trusty Matrix AWD in low gear through the slush on Glover Street on Sunday afternoon. Pulling to a stop in front of The Merc Playhouse, I realized that the matinee I’d come to see probably wasn’t going to happen. The parking spaces had not been plowed. A handwritten sign on the door probably announced that the performance was canceled, but I wasn’t about to trudge through the slush to make sure.
I heard from friends that Glover was still a mess at 6 p.m. The slush on the upper half of Second Avenue was plowed after dark Monday.
The recent snow, followed by warming temperatures, is very like the snows in Baltimore. I was reminded of all the cars, before this Matrix, that I have driven in snow. Two were especially un-snowworthy.
I remember a trip through deep snow in late January 1966 in my 1965 yellow Volkswagen convertible. Snow tires? No. Didn’t have those. Or chains. But Bob and I were young, and dumb and in love, and we set out in early afternoon to drive from Pikesville to our Catonsville apartment.
We entered the I-695 Baltimore Beltway into a tunnel of snow. Eerily isolated on a single lane, we were the solitary car on the one lane that had been plowed. It was a set from Rod Serling’s “Twilight Zone.” It seems nothing short of miraculous, looking back, that we didn’t end up in a drift or get run over by a plow. Taking it nice and slow, that little car never let us down when it snowed.
Thirteen years later, I was chaperoning a high school basketball game on a Friday night. My car that night was my blue 1978 Buick Regal, a pretty car not built for driving in snow. Reed and two of his 8-year-old pals shared with me the harrowing drive home.
During the game, a nasty ice, snow and lightning storm developed. It was so bad that cars were detoured off the nearby I-95 and up Rolling Road to the school. When the game was over, the storm had subsided, and as others were leaving, I rounded up the kids for the ride home. There was no warning for what we found as we drove up the ramp and onto I-695 towards Pikesville. The beltway was an ice rink. Once on the beltway, I saw no way off.
I put the automatic drive in the lowest gear and drove — as much as possible — without touching the brakes. The boys were silent, as scared as I was. Cars dodged and slid, sometimes into each other, but somehow the Buick kept moving. Avoiding the steep slope of our regular exit, I drove on to the next. We got home an hour after leaving school, twice the time the trip usually took. The next morning we watched scenes of dodge ’em cars on the icy beltway on the morning news.
Share some of your old cars and snow stories. Call me at 997-4364.
Join in the fun. The Secret Garden, based on the book (my favorite children’s book and film) by Frances Hodgson Burnett, will be performed by Book It Theater in the Community Center gym this Saturday (Dec. 12) at 10:30 a.m. The free program is sponsored by Twisp Library.