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Icy, Dicey Adventure

Groundhog’s Day brings a dicey tumble on ice, then another into a snowbank—and a realization.

Fran LoBiondo
by Fran LoBiondo

It’s not really about my condition after a fall, but when I slipped and fell in the icy driveway and could not get any traction, I started to lose hope. Maybe it was time to reconsider using a cane.

I kept putting my foot down from the car, only to have it skate away. Whoosh.

It was Groundhog’s Day, the first snow of any consequence here in Vineland. The snow had started to fall in the evening, but not much was forecast. We went to sleep without thinking about tomorrow and we slept soundly under the quilt.

We woke up to about three inches of slushy snow in our driveway. This was the day my son, Greg, and I had appointments to get shots, and there was no postponement allowed. If we had to postpone, we’d have to wait weeks to get the second part of the vaccine.

I decided to go. The roads were brined, and mostly looked passable if I could get out of my driveway.

I backed out of the garage and set a straight course for the street. The car bucked and spun a little on its wheels, but I made it out. I closed the garage door and off we went.

The shot went very well. Greg was calm and quiet. He didn’t howl like a wolf when he saw the needle.

Like I do sometimes. It’s the truth. If I look when the needle goes in, it hurts more, and I start squealing. I suspect the phlebotomists have a note on my file; Frances “weenie girl” LoBiondo.

Anyway, back to Groundhog’s Day.

Driving home, the roads were a big field of slush, half frozen. Getting into the driveway was okay, so I drove right up to the garage door.

And the automatic keypad would not work.

Now my options were to leave the car, skate clumsily up to the keypad and try again to get it open, or take a chance, go to the front door and try to open the locked door with my house key. It was snowing now as I put both shoes out of the car …

And flopped, with no dignity at all, into a snow drift. I tried to get up, but it was devoid of any handholds. Now, I was in trouble. My rear end was firmly planted in ice and slush, and I finally looked over at Greg.

He was looking at me and I was about to cry and then I found my cell phone in my purse. Wa-Hoo!

But alas, no one was home at that hour.

Finally, I asked Greg to go out his passenger door, walk around the car and help me get up. He is not much of a talker, but he understood. He slid out of his side, tramped over to my side, and pulled me up. I don’t think of Greg as a strong man; but he was able to yank my sorry wet patoot up with one hand and slide me into the house with our pharmaceuticals as I peeled off my icy wet socks.

The car door was still open in the driveway on my side and the trunk was open to the weather. But I was not going back out there, even if my life depended on it.

I found it amazing that Greg could figure out what to do in the circumstance and do it. He is autistic, and he waits for information, cogitates on it for a while before making a move.

It can be aggravating. But I have learned to be patient with his way of communicating. You never know what trouble he will need to dig you out of.

I wish for you all a happy and well-balanced rest of the winter.

Life Sentences