Friday, October 20, 2006

Foggy Night Drive. . .

Certain times of the year in the San Joachim valley in California were, by many standards literally fogged in. But the hardy local Californians were used to it and went on about their business as usual and newcomers usually learned to adapt quickly.

It wasn’t unusual to hold your hand out 6 inches in front of your face and not be able to see it. My dad, who made the drive to Castle Air Force base around 5 am every morning got used to the fog pretty quickly. The California drivers had a rather unique system; they would drive down the middle of the lanes on 4 lane roads, in order that the striped lines were directly in front of the car. On two lane roads, it was a bit trickier; they would hug the right hand side of the road. Since there weren’t any curbs, at least where we lived, this usually didn’t present many problems.

My mom didn’t drive as much as my dad did in the fog, but every now and then she would get caught out in it. She hated it, but she coped pretty well really.

One evening we were at my aunt and uncles house, just my mom and me. The fog started rolling in heavily, billowy and thick clouds that made the world seem invisible and muted practically all sound, making the world almost like a huge cocoon.

Mom decided we had better leave before the fog got too thick, but by the time we left it was too late for that, and she realized we would have to just creep home.

My aunt and uncle didn’t live too far from us, only about a mile and most of that was rural, no other houses until you were closer to ours. We got down the road by their house with no problems, but the fog was so thick we couldn’t even see the almond orchards on the left.

We made the left hand turn that would bring us down the road by some houses for a short distance and then we would turn right off that road for a half block and then another right and we would be home safe, on Jennifer Court.

We were driving along that road, inching our way actually. We couldn’t see any street lights and didn’t even see any other traffic, until right in front of us we saw a car, parked crosswise across the road.

Mom made a comment about “What on earth?” and swerved around the car and continued on. Then, we saw a mailbox. It was sitting squarely in the middle of the road! Mom slammed on the breaks and stopped the car. We both scooted out the car and started looking around. It was then that we noticed that we were driving right down people’s front yards!

These days I love foggy nights. Maybe because they bring me just a tiny bit closer to my mom. . .

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