Nothing says 'Christmas Season' like weather and travel advisories. And to herald the closing of the infamous Pennsylvania Turnpike due to traffic accidents, I thought I'd tell my scariest treacherous driving conditions story.
After I quit college I was forced to work for my grandmother in the family business. My grandmother was...how shall I say...mean. As far as I could tell she liked three people; my father, my oldest brother, and me. To us she was generally less vicious. I saw her reduce a Bobby Brooks salesman to tears over their 1982 spring line.
Anyway, one of my main functions while working for grandma was to drive her back and forth to work. She'd quit driving for some unknown reason and wanted to be chauffeured around like some kind of dignitary. So, one inky black December night, after a busy day at the store, we were trying to traverse the winding snow covered roads home from town. This part of western Pennsylvania is geologically referred to as the Upper Allegheny Plateau, which means that we're not mountainous, but we're not flat. It's nothing but endless foothills rolling into and over each other until you descend into one of the river valleys. As we crept up one and hill and down another, grandma kept barking at me from the backseat to slow down, to not hit a tree. And when we started sliding sideways down one of the hills she insisted that I stop and let her out. Stop? I couldn't stop. Then, when we got to the last major hill that we had to go up, she got so hysterical that we'd never make it up the hill and that we'd slide over the hillside that I did actually stop and let her out. I figured that I'd wait for her at the top while she walked up. Turns out that she just waited for me at the bottom.
I almost made it up that hill. Almost. Right before the crest of that damn hill (locally known as Cooper's Hill, all of the hills have names so that we can differentiate between them) sure enough I started sliding toward the ditch and the guardrail. I kept the car on the road though and ended up backing down the hill, where I picked grandma up and we had to take the long way home.
Gee, I thought that story was going to be more interesting.