"I'm just going to take a little drive around town."
As my husband said this, I could see the mischief in his eyes. I knew what he really meant: "I'm going drift-busting with the truck."
I knew I couldn't change his mind.
Dana loves his four-wheel drive. He often calls it a man's truck and follows up the reference by woofing like Tim 'the Tool-Man' Taylor.
Ever since he bought that monstrosity, the prospect of heavy snowfall has made him as excited as a kid on Christmas morning. Coincidentally, this particular incident happened at about 4 p.m. Christmas Day, and we were hip-deep in what The Weather Channel had dubbed The Holiday Blizzard.
"Good," I said, slipping on my boots and grabbing my coat. "You can take me up town to see if anything is open. I'd like a soda."
We told the kids we were taking the truck to the store (about 10 blocks away), and that we'd be home in a few minutes.
It never occurred to me that it might be a bad idea to venture out.
I mean, sure the Nebraska Department of Roads had closed every major highway in Northeast Nebraska.
Sure, they were experiencing whiteout conditions outside of town, but we weren't venturing beyond the border of our little village.
Plus, we had a four-wheel drive. How do you get stuck in a four-wheel drive? In town?
Nah. We'd be fine.
As the truck busted through the mounds of white littering the streets, I thought to myself, These aren't snowdrifts.
"Surprisingly, a lot of people have been out today," the clerk told me as I checked out at the store.
With the uneventful trip to the store and the words of the clerk sharpening my cavalier attitude, I laid my soda bottle on the seat and said: "Let's take Main Street home."
My husband put the vehicle in gear, and we crept forward through the ever-deepening snow.
We watched as other trucks make it up the Main Street hill that led to the high school. We made it, too, without too much trouble.
In the shelterbelt at the top of the hill, Dana and I caught sight of what it must have looked like out on the highways and country roads. Blinding clouds of white swirled above shoulder-high drifts.
"Wow, look at that," I said.
"I see. I see," Dana said turning the vehicle toward home.
Two blocks later, Dana pressed the accelerator as we approached a drift.
Until that moment, I never realized how deceptive snow could be, how it's difficult to gauge the depth of a snowbank until the truck you're riding in is buried up to its headlights .
Until that moment, I didn't realize it was possible to get stuck in a four-wheel drive pick-up...in town...three blocks from home.
I also never imagined that a trip that would take five minutes under normal circumstances could turn into a 45-minute adventure.
With the wind howling around him and flakes stinging his face, my husband cursed the fact that he'd only brought one shovel. All the while, I sat inside the truck, watching my house -- like I said, only three blocks away -- slip in and out of view. (Yeah, kind of like Bugs Bunny and that oasis mirage.)
Eventually, we made our way out of the drift and found an alternate route home.
In the doorway, our youngest daughter greeted us with an admonition: "I thought you were just going to be gone a few minutes."
Yeah? Me too.