Stella – 1 Da Valley – 0
Stella – 1
The Valley – 0
Our daughter was stranded at a friend’s house less than a mile away (she had spent Monday night there). And we couldn’t get to her. Road was blocked with an Archbald borough plow being towed with a chain by a large piece of farm equipment. So that made what would have been the stupid decision to drive that much easier. I actually set out on foot with a bag full of warm clothes over my shoulder (she only had a sweatshirt….yea, I know…) like a Saint Bernard intent on delivering brandy. As I walked into the teeth of 40 MPH winds and negative wind chills, even the guy driving the tractor, who saw me appear out of the ether like some sort of crazed mental patient, shook his head and said…”uh….good luck dude.”
I might make it…but there was no way I was gonna subject my girl to the return trip, so I figured she could survive another sleepover at her best friend’s warm house. First world problems, eh?
Still, the last few days have been crazy. My car was in the driveway, put there to make room in the garage for our lawnmower, which I would surely need soon based on 70 degree February days, right? By Tuesday all I could see of my vehicle were the mirrors. My mail box had disappeared….and my dog looked at me like I was deranged when I suggested she go outside and pee. I know we’ve gotten this much snow before. Must have. But it’s hard to remember things being intense all at once. Over 2 feet of snow. Howling wind. Drifts. Roads not just impassible, but gone. Like everybody else, I spend the entire day digging out. Or trying to. At one point a 4 foot wall had built up at the end of our driveway, and when we were finally able to bust through it, a plow would show up as if on cue and start building it back up again. I was inside and out at least 10 different times, desperate to stay ahead of it all. The only thing that made me feel better was pulling up facebook and reading about everybody else. What I was doing was child’s play compared to the rest of the valley. People literally couldn’t get out of their homes. They were climbing out windows. They were digging themselves out to go….well…nowhere….since plows hadn’t reached their roads yet. At all. Our plows might be stuck in the snow, but at least they were out and about. You have to appreciate the effort. You really do.
Social media is made for shit like this. It was like an evolving Greek tragedy…..written one post at a time. One person was waiting on a 3rd rescue attempt, the first two having resulted in stranded plows. From what I could tell, short of a helicopter or a military operation, they might resurface in the spring. Cars were left on roads, abandoned. People were begging for plows, offering money, booze, whatever. A randy entrepreneur with 4 wheel drive and a smile could have named his own price last night. And of course, anyone with a satellite dish wasn’t gonna Netflix and Chill anytime soon (“you might want to climb up and dig it out….or just wait for spring…” – rep to customer)
There was good……people helping neighbors. There was bad…..landlords MIA as their tenants struggled to even push open their doors. And there was ugly….people who had genuine emergencies and could not be reached, left to fend for themselves. I don’t know the death toll of this storm, but there will be one. That makes me sad.
People lashed out….wondering why their tax bills seemed to arrive like clockwork but their local DPWs seemed to be taking their sweet time. To steal a line from Lincoln, there’s just “too many pigs for the tits”. I suspect that the workers out there the last few days and nights aren’t any happier with things than the people waiting on them.
Stress brings out the best and the worst in people. I’ve seen both during Stella.
I’m guessing the worst is over. Here’s hoping we get a gradual temperature thaw, and not some crazed summer weather that might raise the rivers and really give folks a reason to pontificate on Facebook. Because water can ruin you day, bubba. Snow is a bitch. But flooding is a whore.
So that’s that. We’ll return to the highways tomorrow…..and this storm will gradually fade from memory, like they always do. In a few weeks I’ll be cutting my grass…..probably with little piles of un-melted snow still in view.
And that’s the way it was. And is. At the tail end of Stella….on the Ides of March. In NEPA, a place we love and loathe with equal intensity. Because we’re human. And we can. So we do.
In a bit…