CLINE: Warm memories of icy cold conditions

Todd Cline

Todd Cline

As my vehicle slid back down the hill Tuesday, first backward, then sideways and finally (after a slow but not so enjoyable 180-degree turn) nose first, there were many things going through my mind, some more fit for print than others:

• The city of Sugar Hill is aptly named.

• Losing the ability to guide your vehicle is unnerving.

• Why couldn’t I work for the postal service, which apparently wasn’t able to deliver through Tuesday’s ice.

Once safely back at the bottom of said steep hill, relief replaced all emotions. That allowed me to think back to a time when drives in the snow were for fun, not for getting to work.

The best snow driving memory from my youth is a much told story in my family. After a major snowfall in central Illinois, my dad was eager to get out of the house and “bust” snow drifts as he called it. My mom wasn’t very fond of the idea, but his constant prodding led to the family bundling up, getting into whatever sedan-type vehicle we had at the time and braving the elements.

Unlike Sugar Hill, central Illinois is flat as a pancake. That topography doesn’t lend itself to an abundance of slick, icy hills, but it does make for some major league wind and some giant drifts as result. That’s where my dad’s so-called game came into play.

As a young adult, he told us, he and his buddies would drive the snow-covered streets, looking for drifts to bust. I can only assume that it produced some sort of super hero feeling as the car busted through, sending snow flying in all directions.

Despite my mom’s protests, we attempted, as a family, to replicate this blast from my father’s past. Those protests were made all the worse when our attempt to bust one impressive snow drift ended up with the car stuck and my dad left to walk to a nearby farmhouse for a tow.

Like all stories retold over years and years, this statement may be hyperbole. But after that incident, I really don’t remember my dad ever getting his way again.

But I give the old man credit. He got stuck having a good time, doing something he wanted to do.

That was on my mind an hour or so later in my second attempt at scaling what now seemed like Sugar Hill’s version of Stone Mountain. As my vehicle labored to make the climb, wheels spinning but front end thankfully staying straight, I was on my way to the office but wishing for some drifts to bust.

E-mail Todd Cline at todd.cline@gwinnettdailypost.com. His regular column appears on Wednesdays.