Thursday, December 16, 2010
Day 8 - The Birds
Another Daddy memory. Dad had a set of bird ornaments from his youth and as a child, they always freaked me out a bit. Why, I have no idea, but I did not like those birds. Besides this red one, there was a slightly smaller glittery silver one and an even smaller gold metallic one. The gold one sits on a small metal spring so it wiggles just a bit. Maybe that metallic bird sitting on the tree & wiggling slightly is what bothered me so much - I really don't know. Now, they don't bother me at all. They aren't my favorites, but they don't scare me like they used to. Anyway, they were Dad's, he loved them so they continue to go on the tree each year.
And since it's snowing today, and snow always makes me think of my dad, I'll tell of another Daddy story. Dad worked for VDOT - "the Highway Department" back then. Dad had many duties, mainly supervising the building of certain stretches of the highways. But Dad also served "snow duty." Whenever it snowed, Dad always took a turn driving either a plow or a sand truck.
I grew up respecting the folks that cleared the roads. While others would be complaining about the conditions of the roads, I was thanking those men that spent long, cold shifts working in blinding snow, sleet or freezing rain trying to maintain the roads. While others complained about their cars being hit by sand & salt as they passed a sand truck, I heard my dad telling stories of how dangerous those passing cars are for the snow plows. Stories of the plows & sand trucks being run off the road by out of control cars. I cannot tell you how many times I heard the lecture about how if the people would just stay off the roads for a few hours, the highway department could do their jobs much easier and quicker.
But to get to the funny story.... It was the winter after my sixteenth birthday, and I know it was that year because I'd received a phone in my room as a birthday gift. Having my own phone, a pretty white Princess phone, was a big deal back then. Anyway, it was the first night-time snow fall of the year. The phone rang during the night, I promptly answered it, mumbled "hello" then shoved the receiver under my pillow and went back to sleep. It wasn't too much later when the blue lights started flashing outside our house and someone began to bang, quite loudly, on our front door. The State Police had been called out to come rouse Dad. The phone call had been from the highway department calling Dad up for snow duty. When they didn't reach him, they sent the police. After giving me a quick, but stern talking to, Dad was off to duty.
Another time, Dad returned home from snow duty around 3:00 a.m. He pulled into the alley because State trucks, which he drove, were not allowed to be parked on the city streets. Dad promptly got stuck in the snow. He called for a plow to come give him a push. The plow, with it's yellow flashing lights showed up, started to push and then it became stuck. A sand truck was called. Meanwhile, a local city police cruiser had come along, seen what was going on and stopped - with it's lights going. Eventually, the sand truck was able to get all the vehicles un-stuck and they went on their way, but not before every single house in the entire neighborhood had been awakened by all the flashing lights.
Merry Christmas, Dad. While I sure miss you, I'm awfully glad you aren't out on the roads risking life & limb in a snow plow. Although, honestly, I think you secretly enjoyed it.