We just experienced another very cold snap, but tomorrow is supposed to be warmer than it has been the past few days. Spring can't come soon enough for me, although I have a lot left to do before I feel ready to tackle what's ahead for another growing season.
Last Thursday Jim, Jonathan and Peter traveled to Bismarck (four hours away from here) for the Home School Association's Day at the Capitol. The rest of us stayed home to do chores and hold down the fort. Jim elected to make it all in one day, since there's much to do around here. They had to get up at 3:30 a.m. in order to be out the door by 4:00. Everyone but me went to bed extra early the night before; I was still preparing food to take along. There's been so much happening in the way of food-borne illnesses that we have chosen to stay away from restaurant food and much of what can be purchased at the grocery store.
Jonathan and I also decided we'd better pack some heavy duty survival gear, since the weather was predicted to be bitterly cold. Jim is the type that would rather travel light -- too light by North Dakota winter standards. I rarely see him wear even boots when traveling, since cars tend to be warm inside. We added sleeping bags (also for in case they ended up spending the night in Bismarck) and plenty of outdoor winter clothing. Jonathan even added our tow rope.
I finally got to bed about midnight, and Jim was still awake. We aren't used to setting an alarm, and I worried that my ancient little travel alarm wouldn't go off when it was supposed to, so it was a fitful night for me as well. At 3:30 the alarm did go off, and I woke the three to get them headed in the right direction. It was then that Jim told me he wasn't feeling well, and hadn't slept much at all. Oh oh! They did manage to get out the door on time anyway, and I really wondered how Jim would do.
We didn't hear any more from the travelers until they returned about 10:30 that night. The boys related the story that they could tell Jim was getting mighty tired, as his reaction time was slowing down. There was also a high wind warning which made it difficult for them to see due to snow blowing across the roads. About 45 miles from home Jonathan noticed a stop sign quickly approaching, so he alerted his Dad. Jim pumped the brakes, but as they came to the "T" intersection he kept on sliding and ended up in the ditch. Jonathan said they kind of sat there for a bit in stunned silence. Jim realized how unprepared he was for an attempt to dig themselves out of the snow, and at that point my preparedness son Jonathan handed him his bunny boots and snowmobile suit. They also pulled out a shovel and the tow rope. The incident could have been very serious, and if they would have been traveling any later at night there may not have been anyone driving by until morning. The roads in North Dakota can be rather desolate, especially on a very cold night. However, the guys hopped out of the car, secured the tow rope, and I'm sure they prayed. About ten minutes later a lady in an all wheel drive SUV stopped and pulled them out. Up here it's almost a crime for someone to drive by without stopping to offer assistance. We are very thankful for that.
Since then Jim has become a preparedness nut that almost rivals his son. And I'm thankful for that as well!
(By the way, whatever it was that made Jim feel nauseated that day disappeared by mid morning; another thing to be thankful for!)