One of the fellows I coffee with arrived early this week to announce that we were looking at the stupidest man around.
Patrick LeClerc had looked out the window that morning and saw that there was something amiss with his car, like a lot of white were there shouldn’t have been.
Upon closer inspection he noticed the door to the rear seat on the driver’s side was wide open.
The white stuff was snow and it had filled the back seat of the car, some of it spilling over onto the front seat..
He surmised he had left the door open when taking groceries into the house the previous day.
Along with shovelling out his driveway, this time he also had to shovel out his car.
He said he got most of the snow brushed off the front seat but when he joined us, the seat of his pants was a little wet from the heat of his body melting what he obviously didn’t get.
He didn’t wear the mantle of the stupidest man around for long. By the next day I had assumed it.
About 2 p.m., in the midst of the vicious storm that hit us Tuesday, I dropped my wife Barbara off at the casino for her once-a-month visit.
The driving at the time wasn’t all that bad.
But what I didn’t take into account was what it was going to be like at the time I normally pick her up, about 7 p.m., five hours away.
When I got the call I found that when I backed out of the garage, I only made it about eight feet. On the second try I doubled that. On the third I slid to the side so that the driver’s side of the car was almost against the house so I called it quits.
I had to crawl across the centre console to get out on the passenger side and what at one time was quite easy to do, I found that at the age of 86 it takes some time along with what amounts to hard work.
I stepped out into at least 30 centimetres of snow, leaving me to wonder why I ever thought I could drive through it.
When I phoned Barbara to say I couldn’t make it she managed to get a cab. After being let off she was fortunate the cabbie didn’t take off right away as she fell trying to get into the driveway.
This is where my second bonehead move, or non-move, came into play. I should have shovelled a path for her.
And if I had done that, I would have discovered that a city plow had come by and left a mound of snow probably more than 60 centimetres high at the end of the driveway. It was this she fell over.
She couldn’t get up, suddenly finding no power in her 85-year-old legs, and with her hands sunk deep into the snow she wouldn’t even have been able to get her cell phone out of her purse to call me as she has Reynaud’s disease, which render her hands useless when cold.
And she wouldn’t have been seen by anybody from the street, unless someone happened to walk by on our side and therefore could see over the mound the city plow had made.
I was waiting by the phone at the back end of the house, thinking she would keep me informed as to what was happening.
She said she did enjoy the day as, with only 10 or 12 others in the casino, it was like having it to herself with her choice of machines.
However, I should have known better than to drop her off during a major storm and should have prepared a path for her to get to the house when I couldn’t pick her up..
The cabbie, to whom she will be forever grateful as will I, helped her up from her fallen position and then helped her through the snow (that I should have shovelled) to our door..
In the cold light of day the following morning I checked out our car.
When I said I was almost against the house when I closed down efforts to get out of the driveway, I really didn’t know at the time how close I actually was because it was dark and was still snowing and blowing.
When I looked the following morning I discovered my front fender was only about three centimetres from the wall. Even though the people who blow my driveway had been there overnight, it took me more than an hour to be able to get my car back into the garage.
It probably would have been done a little quicker but it wouldn’t budge on my first attempt, which meant I had to make the trip into the driver’s position twice and out once which, as I previously mentioned, no longer is an easy move.
Anyway, I haven’t had coffee with the group since I told them of my stupidity.
Patrick got rid of the mantle very quickly. I just hope I am so lucky.
However, I hope some of the elderly will take note of this piece and not take any chances in the snow and ice.
In the past week I have heard of two other elderly people falling and not being able to get up, only being discovered when people happened to pass by.
It was unfortunate they fell but let’s hope the luck they had in being discovered continues on for others.