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A scary winter story (03/26/2008)
By Frances Edstrom

Our nephew, Luke, a recent immigrant from Maryland in the groovy East to Milwaukee (or Moo-waukee, as our friend Carl Riter used to call it), came to visit for Easter. We were all excited to see him, as well as his girlfriend, whom we had not yet met. We get precious few weddings in either of our families, so we're always hoping for a chance for a big family party.

On Saturday morning, the phone rang, and it was Luke. I thought he'd be telling us when he would arrive. Instead, he told us why he would be late.

As he and Kate were approaching Madison, in fairly heavy traffic, Luke looked ahead, and saw a snowplow on the overpass under which he would be passing momentarily. He could see that the plow, as it crossed the overpass, was dumping a rooster tail of wet snow onto the road beneath it, and at the rate of speed each vehicle was traveling, about a ton of slushy snow would be dumped on his car as he drove under the bridge. He couldn't hit the brakes or swerve for fear of a major pileup.

Grasping the steering wheel, he made sure his finger was on the windshield wiper button, and hoped for the best. Sure enough, the cascade of snow fell on his car with a huge crash, smashing the windshield. Fortunately, the wipers were just able to clear it enough for him to see to pull over to the side of the road, along with another driver whose car had been similarly smashed.

The only injury, miraculously, was sustained by Kate, who touched the windshield and jammed a small glass sliver in her finger.

What to do? I told him I thought it would be dangerous to continue driving, and doubted that there would be any chance of getting a windshield replacement in Winona on the day before Easter in time for him to get back to work in Milwaukee. So he called AAA, which sent him to a glass replacement shop in Madison, and got him a rental car. They even paid for his lunch. He arrived in Winona only a few hours later than he had planned where we had a great reunion and were able to meet Kate, a wonderful girl.

However, we couldn't forget about the accident, and kept wondering how such a thing could happen. Surely overpasses must be cleared of snow, but how could a snowplow driver dump snow over onto cars on the roadway below? We are still amazed that Luke and Kate came through the experience in one piece.

We're hoping the experience hasn't colored Kate's impression of the Midwest. We know there's nothing that can be done about her impression of the family. What you see is what you get! 


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