Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

CNHI Originals

February 5, 2010

Winter fun: A steep driveway

As I carried five grocery bags, a purse and a lunchbox, I remembered thinking about how much I appreciated the flat driveway and sidewalk leading up to my front door. Growing up, my family and I lived on top of a hill, with a long steep driveway. In the summertime, it was a good place to race bikes. But in the wintertime, the driveway turned into an icy ski slope. No one dared — even in a four-wheel-drive vehicle — to drive up the incline after a winter storm. Cars had to be parked at the bottom, where we would walk up carrying bookbags, groceries and more. And, of course, there were no handrails, just hedges that lined the drive. If snow covered the ground, I knew the climb would be easy. Balance was key. But if the driveway glimmered with an icy sheen, slips and falls would ensue with disastrous results.

Now I have a flat driveway. So do the parents. The driveway of my childhood belongs to another poor soul. I pass by my childhood home quite regularly, as it is on the way to a friend’s house, who lives in the same neighborhood. I am fascinated with the changes in its appearance. However, one thing never changes: The driveway. As I drive by, I can almost see winter’s havoc on the smooth black pavement. How can a driveway produce so many memories? I remember watching my dad drive his truck down the snow covered driveway. I always held my breath as I watched from the large picture window. If he knew a storm was coming, he would often park the truck at night and then walk down the following morning. When I would look out, I would see his footsteps in a single line marching to the bottom of the drive. Of course, once he slid down, after falling on an icy patch. My mom tells a great story of the now famous wipe out. One time, I had the misfortune of wearing high heels to church. A surprise snowstorm and high heels made for an interesting walk up the drive. Holding on to my dad’s arm, he dragged me the top. Other adventures — the time we carried Christmas presents or chased bottles of pop down the driveway — made the driveway a nightmare, covered in an innocent blanket of white.

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