The upper atmosphere tried to give me my 19th snow day this morning. The effort was lackluster. After driving through no-woman's-land at temps in the upper 20s, The Pony and I arrived at school to find that a quick-moving heat wave had shot us into the low 40s by my 10:53 lunch time.
Oh, the skies opened and rain poured, but even though the radar shaded our location in pink, our precipitation remained liquid. Funny thing about water flowing across the land that has been in single digits every night for a week. It tends to get colder and colder until it, too, freezes. By 1:30, temperatures dipped into the 30s. A couple of local schools waved the white flag of cowardice, and declared early dismissal.
Our school simply announced that a bus would not run on a specific gravel road. What's that? We, too, were puzzled. High water, perhaps? Kids had to call parents to come fetch them at regular dismissal time. A game was scheduled nearby tonight, but the big speaker in the ceiling announced between classes that cheerleaders would not be attending. "Huh," I told the librarian. "Are cheerleader lives more valuable than player lives?"
The precipitation had ended by 2:00. It was that darned black ice warning in a neighboring county that had me concerned. After school, I told The Pony, "We're leaving in 15 minutes. Don't run off ahead of me. I might need to hold onto your shoulder to go down that blacktop slope to the car. There's a black ice warning."
"Oh. There was black ice this morning. I saw it when I went in. Good thing you didn't step on any of it."
"You might have told me."
"I thought you'd see it for yourself." That's my boy. The one who doesn't really have any interest in helping people. In fact, he trotted ahead to the car. "I saw the black ice over there, under where that white car is parked now. Nothing here." He jumped into T-Hoe and slammed the door. The door with raindrops now frozen to the window.
The road looked mostly clear. In some spots it looked wet. Yesterday the county laid down those salty lines on the county roads. Some were still slightly visible, despite the morning deluge. We were fine until we got to the very last section by our mailbox.
"That looks like solid ice. Be careful when you get out." The Pony scrambled out to grab the mail. He pranced gingerly back to T-Hoe.
"You would be right. That's solid ice!"
The gravel road was also a solid sheet. Who would think that gravel would be slicker than blacktop? Not me. I've never seen it like this. I guess all that moisture couldn't sink in, and what had melted in from the snow yesterday rose to the top as it re-froze. I fishtailed around a flat curve, even with my 4WD-high scrabbling to keep me rooted to the non-pavement. At the garage, I had to inch forward, the slippage on the concrete slab beside it was so pronounced.
Once safely inside, I called Mom. She had been thinking of going to town, what with her new-found freedom of a car that can make it from driveway to road. I had cautioned her this morning to watch the weather. That it looked like we were getting rain, but that the temperatures were going to drop once the storm moved on.
"Hi, Mom. Did you get out today?"
"Yes. I ran over to Aldi's. I was planning to go in Walmart, too, but it was so cold when I got to Aldi's that I just came back home."
"When did you go?"
"Oh, around 1:30."
"WHAT? That was the worst part of the day! Black ice! Didn't you know the school in that town let out at 2:00 because of black ice? I swear. I bet you didn't even have your 4WD on."
"No, I didn't have it on. The roads weren't slick. And I had watched the weather, and they said the precipitation moved out. It was warm when I left here. I didn't even need my coat, but I threw it in the car anyway because I always do, just in case. Now that you mention it, when I came back and stopped at my mailbox, it was frozen shut."
"You know, Mom, you are that lady who would go out for a little drive during the eye of a hurricane."
"Oh, it was fine. The roads weren't even wet."
"Yeah, I'm sure a great big school district like that lets out an hour early on a whim. I'm glad you made it back okay."
"It's still light. I was thinking about running back to town to Walmart."
"NO! It's 25 degrees. Stay home."
How ya gonna keep her, there in the house, after she's left the driveway? Fools, drunks, children, and my mom. Protected species.