By Gelene Simpson
Corsicana Daily Sun
Winter weather can create a great many sparkling sights, icicles handing from the eaves and so forth. But I am here to tell you that even the most familiar landscape can turn into a real obstacle course with just the right drop in the temperatures. One of the most unnerving sights to me is the appearance of a dense almost impenetrable fog. Yes, a blanket of fog can pose a puzzle to experienced drivers, not to mention drivers like me who like to see not only where they are but where they are going.
I am happy to say that my experiences with fog don’t come very often, but unfortunately a few of them have taken place when I was in a real hurry to get some place. You could probably guess the time of day in which I had these spiritual trials. That’s right. One was in the morning rush-hour traffic when I was headed east on Pioneer Drive in Irving along with everybody else in town.
On my way to my job at Irving High School, aloud I was praying that other drivers could see me, although I couldn’t see them until I was perilously close to their bumpers. But that was not the worst part of my situation. I knew the way down Pioneer to O’Connor like the back of my hand, but the traffic lights seemed to jump out of the fog as if to say, “Boo! Gotcha!” I don’t think I drew a real breath until I was in my designated parking place at Irving High School.
I have had some evening versions since moving to Dawson, however. On my way back home from Corsicana on Highway 31, I have encountered clouds of what looked like cotton. This time the entire situation seemed 10 times worse. One reason was that the traffic was trying too make up for lost time spent crawling through that fog and would hit 70 miles per hour while I was still trying to warm up to 55 mph.
And then, too, there were a good many more 18-wheelers on the highway than on Pioneer Drive. Their lights coming toward me were blinding so that when they had passed, I could hardly see the white line or bridge rails even in the spots where the fog wasn’t so thick.
Things have been pretty calm so far this winter, but there have been years when we have had a lot of rainfall. It was rather disconcerting with water rushing down the bar ditches beside flooded fields and crossing over country roads leaving debris in its wake. It seems that we either have too much rain or not nearly enough.
One thing I learned about water standing on the road is that no one should try to cross it just because he thinks he can.
When my husband Harrell and I had left our apartment in Denton and were on our way to my first teaching job in Andrews, we had to cross a lot of flat land which was flooded. Roadblocks were strung out for several miles. The police would stop us at the roadblocks, but when we explained that we had all our belongings in the car and were on our way to a job, they let us go by. Thankfully, we had no damage to our car and we arrived at our destination safely. I haven’t been that desperate since.
Sometimes there isn’t a warning of high water. The biggest scare we ever had happened one dark night when it was raining hard as we drove over a crossing just out of Italy, Texas. We were coming back toward Frost when suddenly we realized that our front wheels had risen up from the pavement and the water was trying to wash us off the road. We put the car in reverse and held our breath and prayed silently. Somehow we got back on solid ground. I give God the credit for that narrow escape.
Nature has great beauty, but it is important to remember that there may be danger lurking just around that corner, or just over the bridge, as we discovered that fateful night when the Good Lord saved our skins.
Gelene Simpson is a Daily Sun columnist. Want to “Soundoff” on this column? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org