Thursday, April 30, 2009

Betsy Brannon Green continues the 'Mountain' Theme - Climbing Mountains - Fording Streams - Following Rainbows toward my Dream

I had the opportunity to drive Emily across the country to Idaho so she would have a car while beginning her college experience. I dreaded the thought of driving that far (again), but looked forward to spending some quality time with her. And we had quite an adventure. We were supposed to leave on Thurs (April 16 - Emily's 18th birthday), but then I got the idea we could leave on Weds afternoon right when I got out of school and at least make it to St. Louis. So that's what we did. We had a good drive on Weds afternoon and made good time all the way to St. Louis and even drove on about an hour or so to Columbia, MO. We stayed at a dumpy Motel 6 but it was cheap and we weren't there long so it was okay. Since we were relatively 'fresh' and since I had a gray stripe down the middle of my head, I made use of the hotel's bathroom to color my hair. The plan was to get up early on Thurs and drive to at least Evanston, WY and if we felt like it-- push on another hour to Ogden and spend the night there. Laura and Josh were leaving Salt Lake on Friday morning (heading back to Rexburg where they hope to be in permanent residence), so if we made it to Ogden we could just wait for them in our hotel room and then follow them to Rexburg.

So we got up early on Thurs and drove and drove and drove and were doing really well until we got to Cheyenne, WY and then it started snowing. It was big huge wet flakes and they weren't really sticking to the road but they got clogged on the windshield wipers so they didn't work right and I couldn't see (besides the fact that the clouds were down really low like fog and trucks were going extremely slow so I had to watch real close to be sure nothing was in the road in front of me). We drove on like that until Laramie and finally the snow was collecting on the road in a kind of dirty slush. It was still wet but there was enough of it to be slick. Then we went over a mountain and saw that on the other side of the interstate hundreds of cars were trapped trying to go up the mountain we'd just come down. Two trucks were stuck at the top and couldn't go on. Visibility was terrible and even though it was only 5:00 in the evening and we had planned to drive for HOURS still, I was afraid to go any further for fear we'd get stranded on the road. So I got off the interstate and we checked into another dumpy Motel 6 - this time in Laramie. And then we got snowed in. There was at least 8 inches of snow on the car the next morning. On the weather they said some areas got 4 FEET.

Of course I didn't have any real shoes with me - since I'm from Alabama and down here April means SPRING - so I went outside with towels tied around my feet covered with Walmart sacks. Emily and I each had half of the pizza box from our dinner on Thurs night and scraped the car while standing in snow up to our knees. A plow came through and got the roads pretty much clear so we went and checked out the road conditions while filling up with gas. The roads weren't great - lots of the brown slush, but they were passable. So we went back to the motel and were packing up to go when it occurred to me that I'd better make sure the interstate was open. It wasn't. We were stuck there. We sat around all morning miserable and not knowing when we were going to get out (they said on TV that it might be Sunday).

It kept getting clearer - no sun but brighter - and the little bit of snow still on the car melted and we got hopeful. We could stay in our room until 12:00 and then we were going to have to pay for another night. So at 11:30 I called the Laramie police and asked if they knew when the interstate was opening. They said not at all that day. So I paid for another night at the dumpy Motel 6. At about 2:45 Emily checked the Wyoming Road Department Website and it said I-80 was open. We immediately threw our stuff in the car and checked out. They wouldn't give me even a partial refund but said if I-80 wasn't really open we could come back. We got up on the interstate and the lights were still flashing saying it was closed but a few other cars were on it so we went. And we made it all the way to Pocatello before we got too tired. We drove in to Rexburg on Saturday morning (instead of Friday like we'd planned). We were NOT traveling with Laura and Josh and Harrison (they went on without us on Friday) and we were afraid that all the BYU-I offices would be closed. But that was not the case. We were able to do everything on Saturday that we would have been able to on Friday except get Emily a bank account - which she handled on her own after I left (at 3:30 am on Monday - that's when I left - not when she got her bank account!!!)

Anyway, I'm sure you're wondering how the Mountain Climbing title figures in to the is post...

While Emily and I were driving we listened to the Sound of Music soundtrack about a hundred times and the song Climb Every Mountain became particularly meaningful to me. I've always liked it - but while driving across the country (in adverse conditions) and with a son in Ethiopia (Heaven help me) and a daughter about to get married (that Heaven help me thing) and 4 little grandchildren (so far) who have to grow up in this evil world and two more sons at home to raise - it's easy to get overwhelmed and tempting to say 'it's too much - I can't do it'. But the words of that song - talking about how in order to reach your dream you have to give all you have - all the love you've got - for your whole life - rang true to me. I started out my married life nearly 30 years ago with a dream to have a large family and to raise them to be productive, happy, tax-paying, God-fearing people. I was blessed with 8 beautiful children and if I achieve my greatest dream - I will spend eternity with them and my husband. Many times during this life process I've reached roadblocks or deadends or snowstorms which have required an adjustment in course. But to quote (sort of) Maria from the movie, When God closes a door, He opens a window. So when the path was blocked, I've had to climb what seemed like mountains and ford hypothetical streams and follow figurative rainbows - working toward that goal of eternal togetherness. It's been a lot of hard work and I know I have more work ahead of me. As the song says if I want to reach my dream I'll have to work 'every day of my life for as long as I live'.

So now when I get discouraged or overwhelmed or just tired I hum a few bars of that song and press forward. Maybe something good did come of all that driving in the snow...


Cheri J. Crane said...

This is truly the adventure of a lifetime, eh Betsy? ;) I'm sorry you ran into that lovely "Idaho\Wyoming" spring weather on your jaunt to Rexburg. But it sounds like you and Emily weathered that storm with flying colors.

It does seem like we're all climbing interesting mountains at the moment. I truly believe the view will be worth all of that effort one day.

Great post!!!

Gale Sears said...

Dear Betsy,
Such a good, exciting, scary story. Glad you and Emily forged ahead. I laughed so hard about you wrapping towels around your feet. Necessity is the mother of invention! Thanks also for tying your adventure to thoughts of encouragement in this difficult world. Having directed The Sound of Music, I'm very partial to that beautiful song and know the strength it can give.

Jennie said...

I loved your blog and I can relate to your experience since I was once stranded at a hotel waiting out a Wyoming blizzard. Like yours it was truly an unforgettable adventure--it also became the basis for a Christmas story I wrote for Deseret Book a few years back. Just think how much writing ammo you stockpiled from your adventure.

Jeri Gilchrist said...

Wow. What a story, Betsy! I loved the movie, The Sound of Music. Reading your post makes me want to go watch it.
Thank you for your thoughts on encouragement in difficult times and working toward eternal togetherness. Loved your post!