Family Takes Winter Trip in Snowstorm

A reader recalls a winter trip during a snowstorm.


| November/December 2012



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

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.





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