Feature Writer Karen Crowder – The Challenge of Meeting My Friend During a Major Winter Snow Storm

In November 2013, my friend Jenny and I decided to spend another Christmas together. We settled on her staying from December 14, through January 3.

When a snowstorm was anticipated the weekend of the 14th I was anxious. Would this change our plans? Saturday I slept with one ear tuned to the phone, TV and NOAA weather.

As I boarded the 2:40pm train from Fitchburg to Boston, I noticed how crowded it was. Everyone seemed in a festive mood and people were doing their Christmas shopping or going to holiday gatherings.

Jenny surprised me with a call to let me know she had gotten on the train in Baltimore and it would arrive on schedule in South Station at 5:19pm. I phoned the driver of the local limousine company we were using. He had looked online and was “on the road” to South Station. He was delighted to get out of Boston before the height of the storm. At Porter Square in Cambridge, while walking with assistance towards the subway station, I noticed chilly, brisk wind and powdery snow coating the subway platform. I boarded the Braintree train and departed at South Station.

Walking with assistance to the mega transportation complex, I spoke to someone at the Amtrak counter. I inquired about the status of the 5:19pm train from Virginia to Boston. Because of worsening weather, it would be delayed until 5:40pm. I called the limousine driver; our hopes of leaving Boston early were dashed.

He was looking for a parking space near the Amtrak entrance. As I was sitting waiting for Jenny’s train, the driver surprised me by coming in to wait with me for her train. After six o’clock, it finally arrived. We decided he would guide us individually to the sedan. As the driver and I walked to the car, we noticed the increasing ferocity of the storm, with its bitter winds and stinging snowflakes. I was happy to sit in the comfort of the warm car and he was soon back with my friend Jenny, who I had not seen since last January. Her luggage was secured in the trunk and we began the two and a half hour trip to Fitchburg.

Time flew by as we laughed and conversed about our lives. We urged the friendly driver to take his time getting us to our destination, the 99 Restaurant. As we drove in central Massachusetts, the weather and roads were getting worse.

We arrived at the restaurant and said goodbye to our friendly, affable driver. We had a nice meal since the snow had seemed lighter as we entered the restaurant. Maybe the worst was over?

I phoned the local cab company in Fitchburg only to discover they were closing at ten o’clock. I called another company in Leominster, and because they knew me they would take the risk of driving to Fitchburg on this stormy night. “Give us awhile” she said, “The roads are bad.”

At ten thirty were informed the restaurant closed around eleven, but our taxi driver arrived shortly afterwards. The woman guided us to the taxi. The walking was difficult and the drifting, powdery snow was obscuring the curbs. We told the driver to “take her time driving us home.” After a pick up at the Lunenburg Walmart, we were home by 11:15pm. I navigated the snowy steps and held the door open for Jenny and the driver. We thanked our friendly, polite driver and gave her a generous tip.

Even with the challenges of a dangerous winter storm, we were able to meet and arrive safely at my apartment. We knew, even in our sixties, we could navigate transportation with assistance despite the challenges of often-brutal winter weather in New England.

May all Ziegler readers have happy and blessed holidays.


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