Norma Bartol: The misadventures of driving in the snow

Photo of Norma Bartol

Well, as I suspected, the so-called, according to the television, storm of the century at the start of the week turned out to be not much. Yes, I suppose the back roads were somewhat snowy, but as far as the main roads, not too much.

This makes me think about when I used to drive to Stowe, which is where we skied in Vermont in those days (before Mad River Glen).

I realize that any snow around here is enough to get the television ready for the worst storm of the century, but really, one would think that the end of the world was on its way.

Frankly, I get a big kick out of television, especially when it talks about blizzard conditions. The main roads are clear due to the wonderful job the towns (most of them) do to keep the roads clear. I have been impressed, especially when one gets to Vermont, where that job is done so well.

While I am sitting by my window enjoying the snow, I think of some of the happenings of the past while driving to our skiing destination. There was the time I decided to take the short cut over a steep hill, with my two boys whose vacation had started before my girls. Why in the world I had decided to go that way I don’t know, as it was steep back road, and it had not been plowed. So there I was wondering what to do.

I knew that I could move ski poles and everything else, including the boys, to the back of the big station wagon. I then backed down the hill and made another try with good speed, and believe it or not, I made it up the hill. I was delighted that my boys were impressed with my ability to make the grade. On the other hand, this could have been a dangerous situation. I suppose we could have put on our skis and skied to the first house we came upon, but it was cold and snowing lightly. But we made it, frankly to my amazement.

Another time, I was driving by myself and decided to leave the highway and pick up a local road. I was going slowly with my beloved dog, and decided to give her a walk. I pulled over into a gas station and left the car while they put chains on the tires. Yes, in those days we had chains. While I was walking the dog, I heard a crash, and saw that the car behind me had crashed into the car in front of him. Thank goodness my car was out of the way having the chains attached. One more lucky break. My trip to go skiing took longer, but I used the time to walk my dog and drive safely. As far as the driving goes, always be careful when it snows!

Well, it would seem that my voice on the subject of driving in the snow has been equally as busy.

“It is hard to realize that we have changed from a country village to a bustling suburb of the great city. Things must be readjusted. The curves and the trees of other days must give way to the demands of public life, however unfortunate it may seem.”

That was a quote from “Greenwich History: The Judges Corner.” It is a fascinating book of 100 vintage newspaper columns by Frederick A. Hubbard, who in my opinion wrote the most wonderful columns on the history of Greenwich, including answers to reader’s history questions. It was selected, edited and indexed by Frank Nicholson, and published by Round Hill Productions Inc. Frederick A. Hubbard is also the well-known author of “Other Days in Greenwich.”

It’s wonderful if history is your thing.

Greenwich native Norma Bartol, a former Greenwich Time reporter and columnist, lives in the backcountry.