Big Snow In Chicago

We have BIG SNOW. The Big Friendly Blizzard (BFB) of 2011 has arrived.

When I lived in St. Louis in my early 20s, I experienced my first real snow storm. Sure, I had been in snow before, but I had never really managed the experience on my own.

At the time I owned a Honey Bee Datsun. It was an adorable car that took excellent care of me for many years, but since neither of us had much experience driving in the snow, we got stuck. Very stuck. My plan to become unstuck was to back my Datsun up a bit and then put the pedal to the metal in the hopes that we would be propelled forward, breaking free of the snow that had captured us. Sadly, my Bee’s wheels just spun round and round. I was perplexed.

An old black man approached my car and gently rapped on my window. I unrolled my window and he looked at me with a big, almost toothless grin.

“Honey,” he said, “I am going to tell you something about being stuck. It don’t matter how fast you’re going if you ain’t going no place.”  He then quickly directed me with the precision of a symphony conductor out of the hole I had dug myself into.  Before I drove off, I learned his name was Henry.

Today, as I drove home from an appointment just as the BFB started to make its presence known in earnest, I began to panic. The blizzard was closing in and my earlier excitement began to turn to fear. My heart began to beat rapidly. The wheels inside my head spun faster. The BFB blew harder and cars were sliding and honking all around me.

I pulled over and stopped.

Slowly, I took a few deep breaths and loosened the panic in my throat. I acknowledged my fears as reasonable. I challenged a few “what ifs?” that were highly unlikely. I gave myself a moment to really miss Joe, and then found balance with humor. At least I would not have to cope with “project ravioli.”

When any type of weather was predicted, Joe always made ravioli from scratch. Not only would my kitchen be terrorized, I would be expected to try Joe’s new ravioli combinations, which could include spam and grape jelly. No, I would not miss project ravioli. No anchovy or sardine ravioli were in my near future. Armed with this positive knowledge, I pulled back into traffic and headed towards home. My blizzard panic had been replaced by blizzard excitement, and all the other drivers on the road seemed more than willing to make sure I made it home, safe and sound.

Henry is as wise now as he once was. Sometimes you can’t push yourself fast and furiously toward your desired outcome. Sometimes you have to stop, pay attention, and allow yourself to be gently directed and eased back into the stream of life.

What about you? Do you sometimes find yourself moving fast and going no place?


Skippy my Schipperke bounds through the snow with the greatest of ease.

14 thoughts on “Big Snow In Chicago

  1. Congratulations on your BIG SNOW!

    Thank you for the reminder that spinning my wheels is not going to get me there one minute faster.


  2. Big Snow. WOW.

    Love that kids smile….does his hair cover his ears??

    I spin endlessly somedays. Henry was a wise one.

    Have fun, be safe an keep those extremities covered up!

  3. I hope that Cole’s feeling better today! We’re having a blizzard today too…Jim’s transmission went on the car less than a mile from home (van is in the shop being fixed too!). He just got home…


  4. Just to day my first born told me she was stressed out and she didn’t know what to do first. She sounded troubled the same way you explained above. My advice was to meditate and breathe deeply. I told her to let it go because as Grandma Leahy always said ” It is was it is!”. We really cannot avoid the ditches in life even when we go very slow and tread carefully. How we recover is up to us. I told my daughter to proceed with her work and I began to pray all day for her many burdens. One by one they will be removed this I know. This too shall pass Katybeth the storm is over and the roads will be cleared and you will be off to New Mexico tomorrow. Have a safe and wonderful trip. I am in prayer the trip will be smooth sailing.

    • Grandma Leahy has some fine sayings! I use “beyond the beyond” all the time.
      Its obvious your first born trusts you with her troubles and knows that mom’s can help you get back on the road quicker than anyone else.

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