Stuck in the muck

Wednesday, January 29, 2014 - 23:00
Alaskans always willing to lend a hand

After three years of driving in Alaska, I got my van stuck in the snow.

My husband needed a ride home from work; the repair shop needed his truck for another day. I could tell the snowplow had been by the house earlier in the day, and there was a berm at the end of the driveway.

It was dark, so I couldn’t tell just how much snow there was. I was in a hurry, and I had driven through many a snow pile before, so I decided to plow through this one.

The berm was taller, wider and slushier than I anticipated. My front-wheel drive pushed my back tires over with ease. However, as soon as my front tires got halfway, they became mired in muck. I could get no further out.

I figured I could still handle things. I’d just pull back in my driveway, have my son snow blow the snow out of the way, and head out a little later than planned. With my van in drive, I hit the gas. Slush flew from beneath my tires. Instead of moving, I was digging my van in.

I called my husband to let him know that I wasn’t sure when I’d be able to pick him up. He fortunately was able to find another ride.

I still had hopes of getting my van out of its precarious position. Perhaps I could dig the tires out.

After a couple minutes, I knew I was in over my head. There was more slush than snow, and it was extra heavy. I needed a push, but my husband was stuck at work, and the neighbors were not yet home.

However, I live in Eagle River. Before long, a stranger noticed my distress and could not pass by. As the first Good Samaritan shoveled around my tires, another man drove by and was parked and ready to push.

Unfortunately, when I get myself into a jam, I do an impressive job of it. Even with the addition of my neighbor, who had just arrived home himself, the van wouldn’t budge.

My neighbor, Bill, can always be counted upon to help out. He knew just what needed to be done and had the tools to do it. As I sat, warm in the driver’s seat, the three men hooked my van up to Bill’s four-wheel-drive truck. In no time I was out of the berm and on the street.

The strangers got into their vehicles and went back to what they were doing before they saw my plight. Bill went home, got his snow blower, and removed the snow pile so I could get back into my driveway.

Those three men and all the others like them are the number one reason I love living here. When my Cheechako shows through, the people here are always ready with aid and advice.

So, thank you to the three men who helped me out. And thank you to all of you who gracefully lend a hand to us newcomers.


Eagle River’s Lori Spears is the wife of a captain in the U.S. Army.

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