Sometimes the light's all shinin' on me, Other times I can barely see. Lately it occurs to me what a long, strange trip it's been.
What a crazy weekend we had. Sunday was my son's 25th birthday, so we headed to Texas to celebrate. We had a wonderful time visiting and enjoyed spending time with the kids and their new kitten, Polly.
Normally when we visit for the weekend we stay until fairly late on Sunday afternoon. Under normal circumstances it is a five hour trip from Mena to Keene, Texas where my son lives. Because a snow storm was forecast for Arkansas we decided that we should leave early. We went out for a Birthday Dinner at Mi Familia and left for home shortly after noon.
While we were enjoying our meal the waitress came and told us that it had started snowing. We knew that a snowstorm was forecast for Arkansas, but snow hadn't been forecast for the Dallas Fort Worth area. We decided to cut our visit short and leave immediately for home. The snow wasn't sticking to the road as we drove through Dallas, but not long after heavy snow started sticking to the road and I-30 became very bad.
As we slowly made our way along I-30 we saw more and more vehicles in the ditch. We watched as a vehicle in front of us spun around and ended up headed towards us. Fortunately we were far enough back that we could avoid hitting them. They didn't go into the ditch but ended up on the shoulder going the wrong way. Apparently they didn't learn anything from their experience as before long they sped past us. I was more than happy to plod along at a slow steady pace. We saw a number of trucks jackknifed and snapped a photo of this one as we made our way around it.
We stopped to top off the gas tank and go to the bathroom - we wanted to make sure we were prepared. By this time our Kia was covered in ice. It would only get worse as our trip progressed.
By sundown we had reached our exit at New Boston where we turned north to head home on the winding hilly two lane roads of Arkansas. As bad as I-30 had been I was nervous about what I would find on these rural roads. We immediately had to stop as the exit was backed up from an accident on the overpass. In a few minutes the police got things cleared and we were able get over the overpass.
The two lane roads had very little traffic so we were able to make steady time even if it was slow. We did have a half hour wait near Grannis, Arkansas while we waited for tow trucks to get some semi-trucks out of the way who hadn't been able to make it up a steep hill. We were glad that we had filled up with gas and gone to the bathroom not that long ago. The ice had accumulated around our tires leaving almost no room to steer
We finally made it home to Mena after ten hours on the road. It took us just twice as long as it normally does. I prayed a pray of thanks to God for keeping us safe on our trip home. I didn't realize just how fortunate we had been on our trip until I turned the TV on this morning and heard that many people on I-30 in Arkansas had been stranded since 5:30 the night before. Many people had to spend the night in their cars and still were not moving 18 hours later.
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I was born in 1956 in Madison, Tennessee, while my parents were attending Madison College. I grew up along the Front Range in Colorado, attending schools in Longmont, Brighton, Boulder and Loveland, Colorado. Two years after graduating from Campion Academy, I married my sweetheart, Regina. We lived in Loveland, Colorado for six years before moving to Mena in western Arkansas.
I love the people of Mena and the friendly easy going way of life here. I have owned and operated my own business since moving to Mena. I enjoy the natural beauty of western Arkansas and being out of doors.
My newspaper column in The Mena Star, An Arkie’s Faith, premiered on January 7, 2016. In March 2017, I published my first book, titled An Arkie's Faith, using articles from the column.