Blog Post # 17: Icy Nebraska and Wild Rides

Narrow Escape

In the winter of 2004 my sister Deb, my then 10 year old son Alexandru, Alexandru’s Lego Space Shuttle, Mom’s cat Felix, and  I  were driving to Utah in a 20 foot U-Haul. The cab seemed very small as we were crammed in shoulder to shoulder. We had left Orlando with my Mom’s earthly possessions after she died the previous October. We had already stopped in Tennessee, dropping stuff off for our brother Luke. Next we stopped in Virginia and dropped stuff off for me, leaving Mom’s cat Felix with my husband. We then stopped in Indiana, leaving items in a storage shed for our sister, Elizabeth.  Now we were headed to Utah for our last stop at Deb’s, then to turn in the truck.

Alexandru had to have his Lego Space Shuttle with him at all times.  We were forever trying to keep it from losing pieces. One time while Deb was driving, he signed, “Oh no, a piece dropped, please stop so I can get it.”  I replied “No, just hang on, we need to keep driving. When we get to our next stop, you can get out and look for it.”  A little while later he started clamoring that he had to go to the bathroom and he couldn’t hold it. So we pulled off to the side of the road and I was plotting how to hide him from view while he went in the bushes. But as soon as we stopped he opened his door, jumped out, turned around, grabbed his lego piece where it was between the seat and the door, then jumped back in and signed, “Let’s go, I don’t have to go to the bathroom anymore.”  ROFL!! He had pulled a fast one on us. I didn’t realize he could be so sneaky.

While driving through Nebraska, we spent the night at a roadside hotel. Before bed, we saw on the news that police were advising folks about worsening road conditions due to an ice blizzard coming in. The next morning it was still snowing and ice pelleting. The police said stay off the roads. BUT Deb had to get back to work, so we loaded up and took off. 

We had to drive only 10 – 20  mph on the interstate to keep any traction. And every mile we saw cars, semis and trucks that had slid off the road, into the ditch or median, many upside down. 

Deb was driving, and at one point our U-haul started sliding, then alarmingly began rocking back and forth, right and left. We seemed certain to turn over, or go off the road. (Later, Deb said she visualized Mom  laying on top of the U-Haul trying to hold the U-haul steady and on the road.) Finally the truck stopped rocking, the tires regained traction, and Deb and I gave a great sigh of relief. We pulled off to the side of the road and shook for a while at how close we had come to disaster. Alexandru, however, was cackling with delighted laughter. “Do it again! Do it again!” he signed.

LESSON LEARNED:  One person’s moment of terror is another’s carnival ride.

LESSON LEARNED:  There are reasons to risk your life; getting to work isn’t one of them.

LESSON LEARNED: The wisdom to change “Do it again!” into “Never again!” is unfortunately often gained only from surviving a frightening experience where you realize you were lucky, not smart.

LESSON LEARNED: At a time of chaos and panic, a firm belief “you never walk alone” will help you through. 

POSTSCRIPT: Alexandru loved wild rides when he was 10.  As an adult he still does. A couple of years ago he rode “The Beast” at Pavilion Park, Myrtle Beach 52 times in a row! And didn’t throw up once! 

Here are the links to my signing and cueing YouTube “Word Of The Day” channels. I post a new word every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Check it out and I would love to know what you think of them!

YouTube ASL Word Of The Day with PSE Sentence Examples:

YouTube Cued Speech Word Of The Day:

Also, Check out my Adventure Games in the App Stores:

Please join me for my new blog posts each Friday.  Have fun with your ASL and/or Cued Speech Adventures!

Published by Donna Gateley

Developer of SignCueQuest and CueQuest

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