2017-02-15 / Here's the Scoop

Here's The Scoop

Going off track

You may recall that right after Christmas I was lamenting the fact that I had received some spiffy cross-country skis as a gift — but there was scarce snow on which to use this equipment. I was only kidding. Please, make it stop!

Joking now, too. Honestly, the snow we’ve been receiving on a pretty regular basis this month is welcomed by most Catskill Region residents. It is the northeast, after all. We expect snow. I have a theory that snow brings out the kid in people. It’s fun stuff. Until it isn’t.

For instance, on Sunday morning I was enjoying the latest batch of snow from the warmth of my dining room in a state halfway between drowsiness and caffeine fueled altered consciousness. This perfect weekend combination of welcoming a new day at a lazy pace quickly shifted when I witnessed a fast-moving vehicle heading up the hill in front our house. Although I was barely awake, my brain communicated this thought: “Wow, that person is going too fast to navigate the hairpin turn.”

I didn’t really have much time to consider my assessment of the situation before my years of experience gazing idly out the window proved useful. I watched as the vehicle “rounded” the sharp turn and plunged straight into a small ditch. Not to be deterred, the driver expertly backed out of the ditch, slid backwards and landed his huge SUV precariously on edge of a much steeper embankment.

Taking a second opinion

This all happened very quickly. As I explained what I had just witnessed to my wife, she felt that maybe I should venture outdoors and lend a hand.

“But my hands are feeling pretty cozy wrapped around this steaming cup of coffee,” I protested. “Besides, we had about another 10 feet of snow last night. It’s kind of a blizzard.”

The snow was indeed deep, but I had exaggerated the total too much in my effort to avoid engaging in the Good Neighbor policy. Plus, I had no idea who was driving the vehicle that was teetering on the edge of certain death. Is it really worth risking frostbite to assist a stranger, I asked?

The answer was “Yes, strangers need help, too.”

So, it was on with boots, hat, gloves and off with my selfish attitude. I was soon trudging to the scene of the stranded vehicle. Before you think too poorly of me, let me clarify that “certain death” remark. If gravity had been combined with a fruitless attempt to “drive” out this predicament, the hulking SUV would have merely toppled a few feet into a solid stand of trees – the biggest drawbacks being a large towing bill and embarrassment.

Help is on the way

That’s because several friends (who are more neighborly than myself,) arrived at the scene — apparently without prodding from their wives. This was good — with some oldfashioned ingenuity, the driver could dodge the towing charge. The embarrassment, well, there wasn’t much chance to escape that outcome.

A thick strap, a handheld winch and a bit of brute strength (we did the work for free, so we may as well get paid with a manly compliment) and the SUV was pulled safely into the middle of the road.

Truth in winter driving: I’ve been stuck on that turn a few times myself, so there wasn’t much that I could say. But I did.

“Did you put those bald summer tires on just to show off your winter driving skills?” I asked the relieved driver.

He laughed and thanked the crew for helping him out. “No sweat,” I responded.

Well, there was a little sweat. All would soon be forgotten with a fresh cup of coffee and the warming satisfaction that comes from helping a stranger. — Brian Sweeney

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