My mother is terrified of my driving. I have mentioned this before, but it bears repeating since she hates to go anywhere with me, despite the fact I have been driving for more than 15 years now and have only been in a handful of accidents.
It's been years since I've wrecked a car.
She still doesn't like my driving. When the weather gets bad, and it is snowy or icy out, her worry increases seven-fold. When she knows I am out-and-about in bad weather with her grandchildren in the car, she's on tenderhooks the entire time. I have to call her on departing and on arriving at my destination. If I forget, she calls. If I take too long - well, you get the idea.
This past weekend, in the worst snowstorm we've had in years, she and my father decided to trek to Kentucky. They wanted to celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary and decided they would do so by taking a week-long vacation in Nashville, picking up my brother, Davy Crockett, and sister-in-law, Glinda the Good, on the way. (My parents can't even go on vacation to celebrate their anniversary without turning it into a cavalcade.)
I was a touch concerned. I know Grampy Grumpy has been driving for 40 plus years. I know their car is in good working order - Grampy Grumpy is a good mechanic, and he always checks the fluids before a long trip.
I was still worried.
So I called my mother.
"Hey, are you really going to leave today?" I asked.
"Yes, we have reservations, and we need to coordinate with Davy and Glinda."
"Do you have a blanket in the car? It's not like I think you're going to break down or get into an accident or anything. It's just, you might get stuck in traffic." Grampy Grumpy would be highly offended if I suggested he might have an accident, regardless of whether the temperatures were going to be sub-zero and there were six inches of snow.
"No, no, there's a blanket in the back seat," she assured me.
"Do you have something to eat in there? You might get stuck in traffic. If you're stuck and traffic, it would be good to have something to eat if you got hungry." I just needed to maintain the illusion I was worried they might get stuck in traffic.
"We've got that cheese gift set that you gave us for Christmas."
"Good, good, that has crackers and meat in it, too. Why don't you just throw a couple of water bottles in there, too. In case you get stuck in traffic and get thirsty."
"Well, I guess I could do that."
"Do that - you don't want to be stuck in traffic and be thirsty. Think of how grumpy dad would be if there wasn't anything to drink."
"Well, OK, then."
"You want to charge your phone up, too. The cold drains the battery fast."
"Oh, and mom?"
"Call me when you get there."
(Wallace-Minger, The Weirton Daily Times community editor, is a Weirton resident and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)