Driving In Snow

The return to winter driving always reminds me of my first winter out on my own living above Eckle’s Department Store in downtown Dodge City, Kansas. Snowstorms in western Kansas usually mean lots of wind, bare fields, and huge drifts. On this particular sunny Sunday morning my roof top vista included a perfectly uniform eight inch blanket of new snow, so I jumped at the invitation to drive with a buddy down to the city civic center.

The Dodge City Civic Center parking lot was acres of bumper-less, light pole-less asphalt covered with a layer of ice topped with fluffy snow, and every souped-up thunder-buggy in town was there. The rules were simple: Who could flip the most 360’s. Successive turns only polished the course making for more spectacular runs, which was why none of us saw the Kansas Highway Patrol cruiser pull in behind us.  

He walked up just as the next contestant went whirling by. After an awkwardly long silence he said, “I’m glad to see you boys practicing your winter driving skills here instead of out on the highway somewhere.” Ice broken, we laughed and chatted and some of the guys got him to pop the hood on his 440 interceptor before he left.

As he drove down the street he did a slow power slide turn into the parking lot then picked up speed. Right before the grand stands he cranked the wheel, hit the siren and lights and spun past us. After posting an impressive score he deftly regained control, shut down the siren and lights and coolly idled out of the parking lot at the far end and drove away.

So every winter first chance I get, I find a big, slick, empty parking lot and flip that ceremonial first kitty of the season.    

Brian Leland is Chief Cook and Bottle Washer for The Green Coalition of Gay Loggers for Jesus.