Today Lynne Cantwell drops by to share her Most Slippery School Memory! And to one lucky person, Lynne will be awarding a $10 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter on the tour.
I grew up in northwest Indiana, five blocks from Lake Michigan. Winters there are not for the timid. In fact, I used to own a sweatshirt that said, “Indiana: spring, summer, fall, winter, winter, winter….” Often, we would get our first snow by Halloween – I vividly recall stepping over snowbanks to go trick-or-treating. Spring consisted of a couple of weeks of mud in May after all the snow melted; anybody in our town who dressed a kid for Easter in one of those pastel coats in the Sears catalog could have been arrested for child endangerment.
So I can deal with snow. I don’t like it now, because I live near Washington, DC, where the merest whisper of snow in the forecast sends everyone in a panic to the grocery store to buy bread, milk, and toilet paper. (Seriously, that’s what people here do. It’s like two inches of snow will sock them in for a week.) But snow and I go way back. I can walk in it, drive in it, and even enjoy it, if I don’t have anywhere to be that day.
Boy, was I surprised when I went off to college in southern Indiana and discovered there was something worse than snow.
It happened one morning during the second semester of my freshman year. When I walked to my 8:30 a.m. class, it was drizzling. When class let out an hour later, I noticed that people on the sidewalk were behaving oddly – they were tripping, sort of. Then I took one
unsuspecting step onto the sidewalk myself, and boom! I was on my butt. While I was in class, the drizzle had turned to this nasty stuff called freezing rain. Everything looked normal,
but it was covered in a thin, flat sheet of ice. I couldn’t get any traction. Not even walking on the grass helped – that was covered in ice, too.
Somehow, gingerly, using little teeny steps, I made it back to my dorm. I’ve apparently
blocked out the memory of that harrowing walk, but I’m sure my feet skidded out from under me at least once more.
In my four years of college, I experienced several more freezing rain events, and it got so I could manage to get around. But there was one other time the weather gods got me.
I was working at the record library in the music building and had just finished a shift. My preferred shortcut home included a dirt path down a wooded hill. While I was at work, that path had turned into a sheet of ice. Carefully, I picked my way down it, stepping sideways, wedging my feet against convenient rocks and clumps of dirt. I was pretty proud of myself
when I got to the bottom of the hill without mishap. Home free, I took a confident step, and boom! I was on my butt.
Since then, I’ve moved around a fair bit, and I’ve learned to deal with other unpleasant weather phenomena – tropical storms, ice storms, nor’easters. But to this day, some thirty-five years after our first acquaintance, I still hate freezing rain.
The winter solstice 2012 won't be the end of the world. It will be the beginning of the end....
Naomi has a pretty sweet life. Respected as a skilled mediator, she has an almost uncanny knack for getting people on both sides of a dispute to agree. And her handsome boyfriend Brock has just proposed to her. But a white buffalo calf is bowing to her in her dreams. And who is the Native American man who has been following her around?
Naomi doesn’t know it, but things are about to change....
Working my ginger Nissan Cube free of LoDo at last, I pulled up behind a car that was sitting at a stop sign...and sitting...and sitting. No traffic was coming in either direction that I could see, and my earlier ebullient mood was evaporating by the second. Finally, in frustration, I cried out, “Just go, already!”
The car ahead leaped into the intersection. A horn blared as another car shot into my range of vision from the left, narrowly missing the first car. As the driver on the cross street flew by, still honking, the other driver rocked to a halt on the other side of the intersection and just sat there.
I realized my hand was covering my mouth. I pulled it away with an effort and sat for a moment, glancing between the flaring brake lights across the road and my hands trembling on the steering wheel. Finally, the other car’s brake lights went out and he, or she, drove away. Slowly and carefully, I did the same.
Shannon met me at the door, her grin dissolving into a look of concern…. “What happened?”
I told her. About the other driver, and about the settlements.
As I talked, my brain began clicking things into place. It wasn’t just that I was getting really good at my job – it was too easy. People were far too suggestible around me. The client
had told Perry that I had a magic touch. That he couldn’t help agreeing with everything I said.
I could tell someone to get out of my way at an intersection, even if it put that person in danger.
“Something weird is going on,” I finished, rather lamely.
Lynne Cantwell has been writing fiction since the
second grade, when the kid who sat in front of her showed her a book he had written, and she thought, "I could do that." The result was Susie and the
Talking Doll, a picture book illustrated by the author about a girl who owned a doll that not only could talk, but could carry on conversations. The book had dialogue but no paragraph breaks. Today, after a twenty-year career in broadcast journalism and a master's degree in fiction writing from Johns Hopkins University (or perhaps despite the master's degree), Lynne is still writing fantasy. Her third novel and her first urban fantasy, Seized: Book One of the Pipe Woman Chronicles, was released in March.
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Lynne-Cantwell/e/B005JTP5NE/
Smashwords author page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/lynnecantwell
Thank you Lynne Cantwell for dropping by! Don't forget to leave a comment! And to one lucky person, Lynne will be awarding a $10 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter on the tour.
5/15/2012 12:05:42 am
Thank you for hosting Lynne today!
5/15/2012 12:49:26 am
Melissa, thanks for the opportunity to post here!
5/15/2012 02:24:14 am
I currently live in Indianapolis and read with interest your stories of the wimpy snow people in DC and treacherous experience called "walking" during or after an ice storm. Your story took me right back to an experience several years ago, as I was driving home from work during an ice storm. The police were literally closing the roads behind me as my car crawled lying a dying man 30 miles toward home. By the time I got out of my car in my warm garage and walked into the kitchen and my husband came toward me with his arms outstretched, I was sobbing and shaking from mortal fear. I thank you for the reminder to be grateful for this beautiful, sunny, 75 degrees with a light wind day outside today!
5/15/2012 03:22:37 am
Glad you made it home okay. :) And yes, it's beautiful here today, too, now that the rain has cleared out.
5/15/2012 05:27:57 am
Ice storms! Two memories: My college roommate decided to **skate to class one morning after an ice storm. Her only problem? The ice melted and she had to call me to bring her a pair of shoes so she could get back to our dorm! And then there was the Volkswagen beetle that skidded at the top of the hill, rolled over, and slid all the way down the hill on its roof, spinning as it went!
5/15/2012 08:49:17 am
Barbara, that poor VW driver....
5/15/2012 08:53:49 am
Hm, Ice storms, I don't think we usually have the really bad ones but when I went abroad there of course was one when I wanted to fly back for Christmas and all the flights got cancelled for the next days. Mine was one of the lucky one last flights that actually was just allowed to start but it took the pilot a few times to actually go up, that was horrible!
5/15/2012 08:58:39 am
My friend in California asked how I got around in the winter. She was amazed to find out that I could still drive when there was snow.
5/15/2012 02:53:55 pm
Emiliana, I am shuddering just reading about that flight. Ice and airplanes just don't mix very well....
Thank you all for the comments. I laughed over all the comments today because I've been there right along with you. One winter in Ohio the roads were so icy that the cop car slid off the road and the cops were falling all over themselves like Keystone Kops trying to stop the car. Ice storms are not nice for airplanes. I don't think I would have stayed on that plane. I also could totally picture your VW on its head, just like a turtle on its shell. Thank you all for making my day!
5/15/2012 04:35:11 pm
You made mine, too! Thanks again -- I enjoyed being here today. :)
5/15/2012 09:37:51 pm
I can picture the Indiana sweatshirt - love it!!
5/16/2012 12:52:05 am
Hi Mary -- The sweatshirt also had on it a cartoon of Ziggy-like people with snow up to their noses. I wish I still had it, lol.
5/17/2012 10:36:45 am
At college I lived in a dorm on a hill for sophmore and junior year. After the first 2 winter storms of sophmore year and having some super funny yet painful falls down that hill. I skipped class and stock piled on food when storms came.
5/17/2012 06:07:26 pm
Good thinking, cait045. :) Our college never closed for ice storms, although we did get enough snow once to cancel classes. Funny thing, though -- students were able to get to the bars that day. ;)
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