As you will be able to tell from the photos I will be posting over the next few days, I’ve had a "bit" of ice. Christmas Eve turned out to be the diciest of the days, probably because I wasn’t anticipating problems. The forecast promised "no accumulation." The forecast promised temperatures of 40 degrees.
So between 7 and 8 a.m. the skies opened up, and freezing rain soon blanketed everything in less time than I would have guessed possible. And then the temperature didn’t rise, and didn’t rise, and didn’t rise. As you can imagine, the longer it went on without going above freezing, the worse I was starting to feel. I still had a bit of food to buy. I was supposed to be hosting a Christmas Eve party in the evening out at my parents’ farmhouse. The lane was more than a sheet of ice. It was panes of glass thick.
Around noontime one of the Roundtop boys tried to cinder the hill. It took him 3 pickup loads to make it past my cabin and then up to my neighbors’ A-frame. He stopped and we chatted as he inched his way back down the mountain. I think he was relieved to stop for a moment or two and take a few deep breaths. The road was that bad, and I could see white-knuckles. He'd been forced to take off his gloves to get a better grip on the steering wheel of the truck.
He promised to try and cinder my lane, but then he couldn’t get the whole way in and was eventually forced to give up. Fortunately for me, he was able to cinder the "intersection" between my drive and the lane, which turned out to be a huge help, little Christmas Even present.
I threw down an entire container of anti-skid between the intersection and where my car was parked. It’s a straight shot from there out to the lane, so I gunned the engine up to the lane, then turned a hard left and braked like crazy going down the hill and—I made it.
Once out, the situation improved. The temperature did, eventually, rise above freezing sometime late in the afternoon and then kept rising, even after dark. I like to think of that as another little Christmas Eve present, one that allowed my family to spend the evening together, eating and chatting and not doing much of anything. That was the best present of all.