Family Takes Winter Trip in Snowstorm

A reader recalls a winter trip during a snowstorm.

Zero Visibility

This illustration depicts a family driving in a blizzard, with a person on the hood of the car serving as windshield wipers.

Illustration By Lois Kay Vail

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In the early 1960s, my husband, Jack, and I, along with our 4-year-old son, Mike, and our 2-year-old daughter, Ann, lived in rural Iowa.

Winter trip

One day in early December, we decided to visit Jack’s parents, who lived about 30 miles away.

On our way through town, we stopped and picked up Jack’s brother, Dick, who had called earlier saying he wanted to visit his parents, too, but was having car trouble. So, we all piled into the car and headed out of town.

We had barely made it through town when we noticed a few snowflakes slowly floating from the sky. It had been overcast all day, and snow was not totally unexpected. However, what was unexpected were the problems we would soon be facing.

Winter snowstorm: Creative approach to zero visibility

Before long, the snow came down heavier and heavier. Even with the wipers going, it was difficult to see through the windshield — and then it happened. Just like that, the windshield wipers quit working, about seven miles from our destination.

Apparently everyone else was smart enough to stay home on such a day, so, luckily, there was no traffic as Jack pulled over to the side of the road. After a brief discussion of the problem, Dick came up with a brilliant idea. He would sit on the hood of the car and keep wiping the snow from the driver’s side of the windshield so Jack could see to drive.

And that’s exactly what he did, wearing his gloves and Jack’s. He moved his arms up and down as fast as he could to keep the windshield clear for Jack. I, of course, couldn’t see anything because Dick was blocking my view.

We drove slowly so Dick wouldn’t fall off the car, stopping once briefly to let him get into the car and warm up a bit. It took us quite a while to drive those seven miles to my husband’s parents’ house, but we finally made it.

Poor Dick was nearly frozen stiff by the time we walked into his parents’ house. Dick gladly accepted the steaming cup of hot chocolate they offered, and so did the rest of us, even though we weren’t nearly as cold as Dick.

Coffeyville, Kansas

Read more fun winter tales by CAPPER’s readers in Winter Stories.