Letter at Length December 17

A black ice tale

I am no stranger to black ice. I grew up in Virginia, where the stuff happens all the time during the winter. We called it freezing rain. So, early Saturday in the pre-morning darkness as I emerged to retrieve the newspaper, I should have immediately recognized the treacherous sheen of slickness on our asphalt driveway. In fact, it was the first step I took — which nearly landed me on my fanny — that actually alerted me to the danger.

There was not a sound to be heard from the town of Ashland, six blocks below our hillside home above the ditch trail. No noticeable traffic on I-5 across the valley was another indicator of the seriousness of the conditions. None of this evidence, however, dissuaded me from assuming that our noble and reliable newspaper delivery man would have any problem at all in overcoming the 12-percent grade of our street — he sneers at such trifles.

And we Mozingos are made of equally stern stuff. So, adopting a Nordic skiing style of walking, I mushed along with ease "¦ with ease, that is, on the flattish parts of the driveway where the cars park. The moment I passed the lamp pedestal where the slope increases, the game changed. I began to slide along now in what was transformed into more of a downhill style of skiing. The immediate result was the same as had happened to me upon my first ski lesson — I somehow rotated 180 degrees and began to slide uncontrollably backwards down the driveway. It was an awful, helpless feeling. If stars have feelings, this must be what they experience upon being sucked into a black hole.

Worst of all, I knew that the driveway slope increased measurably as I zoomed along toward the street. I was doomed. But then, as in the past with other feckless decisions, the family herding dog came to my rescue. Rosey, our 18-month-old Aussie, saw my misfortune and skated up to me as I was sliding along. I was able to grasp her collar and told her to "Sit!" Good dog that she is, between her claws and her increased coefficient of friction from sitting, we slowed to a halt. From there it was merely a crab-walk sideways to the rock wall alongside the drive where I was able to pull myself, hand-over-hand, back up to the level area adjacent to the garage doors.

So, there I sat, enjoying my coffee and perusing a month-old news magazine I had set aside for my doctor's office. No weekend Daily Tidings for consolation, but I did enjoy the comfort of the trusty Rosey laying at my feet, chewing her well-deserved bacon treat.

Tony Mozingo


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