Nothing like a snow storm to open the door to unexpected benefits.
In the wake of last Thursday's roughly 10-inch snowfall, unless you were fortunate enough to have been able to stay in, chances are you have some type of tale to tell.
It took one of my co-workers an hour to get home, instead of the typical 10-minute drive. Others simply left their vehicles where they were buried and relied on the others' generosity for transportation home.
I wound up taking a "scenic" route home since I had to swing by the Huck Finn Shopping Center in order to pick my wife, Nancy, up from work. I guess I could have assigned that task to my 16-year-old daughter, Anna, but that notion sent a chill down my spine.
My trip was stressful, even for a veteran winter driver such as myself. Still, I couldn't help but notice situations where people were trying to help others.
I was the intended benefactor of such assistance. I did fine until it came time to turn from Mark Twain Avenue onto the acceleration ramp leading to westbound U.S. 36. When the traffic light changed to red, I lost my forward momentum, which was not a good thing.
When the light turned green I simply sat and spun my wheels. Noticing my predicament a Hannibal police officer, who was already on the scene helping with traffic resulting from a stuck truck, came and gave me a push which unfortunately didn't get me moving. Still, I appreciated his effort.
After successfully extricating myself, I crept along toward the shopping center, hopeful I'd not be run over by any of the motorists who seemed oblivious to the conditions and were determined to drive the speed limit on U.S. 36 and McMasters Avenue.
After picking up my bride, we found ourselves lined up in traffic while a good Samaritan attached a chain from his pickup to the car ahead of him, which was stuck.
While I did not see it with my own eyes, a reliable source recounted another storm story where one person went out of their way to help others.
Reportedly, an ambulance was snarled in snow-related traffic while hauling a patient to the hospital. Assessing the situation, a MoDOT worker in a large truck equipped with a plow shoveled a path on the highway that the ambulance could follow all the way to the entrance of the hospital's emergency room.
Not every act of assistance was done intentionally. I was the benefactor of such a "gift" Friday morning.
At my home, I must traverse an alley in order to reach a street. Two years ago after the 22-inch snow, Nancy and I cleared by hand the shorter stretch to the street. However, this time around I had no desire to clear 10 inches of wet snow from the roughly 20 yards of asphalt.
As I retired my shovel for the night, I was faced with two options. Option One was to hang a right out of my driveway and follow tire tracks made earlier by a neighbor. It meant a longer drive to the alley's west end, but at least I had a path to follow. However, I didn't know how snow-packed that end of the alley was. Option Two was to hang a left and try to "bull rush" my way through the shorter, yet unshoveled route to the east end of the alley, which I had partially cleared.
"Surely someone will drive down the alley during the night and give me some tracks to follow," I thought.
As you might guess, I was wrong in assuming that I'd have a path to follow when I awoke Friday. However, as I stood looking out the window, weighing my options, a Haul-A-Way trash truck turned into the alley and carved out a path.
I never knew a garbage truck could look so good.