Well, that got interesting. Just last weekend Knoxvillians lined up at consignment stores attempting to barter away their heavy coats in exchange for a handy pair of Bermuda shorts. Temperatures hovered in the seventies, joggers ran about in little shorts and t-shirts. The ice rink gave up and went home. I think I saw Jimmy Buffet walking down Gay Street with a fruity drink of some sort.
Next thing we know Jimmy has been replaced by Noah. Deluge after deluge fell over the land and the pestilence was upon us all. Ducks sought drier land. A river flowed through the city and we lined up to trade our Bermuda shorts for larger umbrellas. And arks. Two days of rain and we’d met our monthly quota. It kept raining – and getting slightly colder.
Then we get word from our local meteorologists that we could see an inch of snow in the valley. No, wait, that’s one to three inches. Now that I think about it, let’s make it two to four. Schools closed. Children screamed and mothers cried. And I drove from Oak Ridge toward the city. I started driving just after 3:00 and the rain thought it might grow up to become snow, but it wasn’t sure.
Pellissippi was wet and traffic was pretty much normal. I-40 seemed a bit slow when I turned eastward toward the city. Then it really began to crawl: 25 miles an hour, stop, 12 miles per hour, stop. I’m thinking, “People, it’s snow. I get it. The road is fine and so are we – let’s go home, already.” All the way to the Northshore exit I’m looking for even a small sign that the snow is sticking to the grass beside the road. It’s crazy.
Then, just east of Northshore I got it. I got ruts to drive in. I got chunks of ice fallen from sixteen wheelers. I got pot holes which had been waiting for years for this opportunity to emerge. Snow blanketed the interstate. Cars careened off the road in every direction. What should have been the last ten minutes of the commute became forty-five minutes of white-knuckled nail biting prayers.
Did I mention the hill up Locust Street? That would be the one where people drove up most of the way only to slide back down among those of us easing our way up toward the garage. Did a dry parking spot ever look so good? Could home feel any better? Could any of you spare a downtown job for a shaken blogger?
Of course, I later learned that there was “not a snowflake on the ground” in Oak Ridge, meaning that I’ll be expected to be on the road at 6:20 AM for my daily commute. Will the boss believe my description of the mean streets in the city? Maybe the pictures will help. In any case, the city was beautiful once I was out of the car and on the ground. As businesses closed and downtown workers made their way home as best they could, a quiet settled over the city and the journey to get home seemed worth it, after all.