Sunday, December 24, 2006

Angels From Out Of The Blizzard

The Blizzard of Ought Six or the Hannakah Blizzard of ’06. Whatever…I was totally caught up in it and rescued by the National Guard and an angel family from Lafayette.
I knew better than to go to work. The forecast was for a major blizzard with ten to twenty inches of snow. The forecasters have been so wrong so many times lately, that I just kind of…ignored it. Maybe…hmm. Ten to twenty, huh?
I caught the 6:02 A.M. out of Lafayette for Denver. The wind was blowing like hell and there was a teasingly pretty little ground blizzard. You could barely see the snow except for headlights. As we neared Denver, it got heavier. I walked from the Mall to my office. One block. It was a blizzard and a portent of what was to come.
Several people had called in and took annual leave. I didn’t want to waste a vacation day. About 9:00 A.M. I decided that my chances of getting home might be endangered. We were all waiting for Governor Short Timer (it’s Colorado, look it up, I don’t want to say his name) (Gov. Nagin), to call a snow day and tell us to go home. With pay, of course! Around 11:00 A.M. I decided to call it a day and took off for the Market Street Station. It was packed!
I had arrived early for the noon departure and found myself near the front of the line. Some guy right next to me started whistling Christmas Carols. I was trying to read, Goddamit! The bus was one and a half hours late.
At 1:30 P.M. we headed to Longmont, with stops in Westminster, Broomfield and Lafayette. The driver (wish I knew her name) was fantastic. She reminded me of Laurie Metcalf who played Roseanne’s sister. I give her “driver of the year” award! We took the HOV lane and as it ended and we came to Sheridan, it all turned to shit. We arrived at Church Ranch Road at 1:50 P.M. and we were basically there until 9:00 P.M.
The people on the bus were very nice and shared candy and Christmas cookies. There was one guy wearing a thin leather jacket. After two hours, I offered him my seat. He gladly took it and told me that he was a mass of nerves. It wasn’t long after that that he bolted from the bus and walked a mile or more to the Westin Hotel near the Church Ranch Road exit. Hope he didn’t get frost bitten. Not long after that more people left for the Westin. Most were not wearing sensible shoes. I was dressed warmly enough in a down coat and a quality hat and stood outside a couple of times. No way would I walk to that hotel! People die in weather like that!
We got word that Highway 36 was closed due to people abandoning their cars. The governor called out the National Guard and tow trucks to get the cars off the road and rescue people. One of the people on our bus called RTD (the bus company) and told them that we had been sitting in the same place for over six hours. They told him that he sounded like he was exaggerating. That pissed me off so I call Channel 9 (Nine Wants To Know) and they blew me off. The guy told me to call 911. Told him that I thought 911 was well aware of the situation around us and that news story was RTD’s being in total denial of what was going on with their busses.
The woman in front of me was passing out Brandy Balls or Schvetty Balls and she called them. What a sweatheart!
I got off the bus a couple of times to pee on the tire. Not a lot of privacy since there were cars all around us. What were they going to do? Arrest me for public urination? Some of the men were really nervous about doing this. WTF? If you’re a man, the world is your urinal! I suggested that the women form a privacy circle outside so they could pee. They said it was too cold! One of them said she was afraid she’d get stuck to the side of the bus and she didn’t want to make the news that way.
At 9:00 P.M. the National Guard told us that the bus had been ordered to turn around and go back to Denver and that they were going to load us into a troop carrier and take us to the Westminster Recreation Center at 104th and Sheridan. We all got off the bus and trudged up the hill in deep snow to the exit ramp. (See photo above.) There the hunky National Guard guys helped lift my tired old ass onto the troop carrier. I had visions of them taking us to some sort of Stalag.
The Westminster Rec center is a fancy facility and they fed us Shrimp and Prime Rib. They had to cancel a dinner for some senior citizens, so those of us rescued got to eat. I can’t say enough about the Red Cross, Boulder County Sheriff’s Office, Broomfield Police, National Guard and all those who helped.
As I sat there eating my Prime Rib and Shrimp, a lady across from me asked if anyone was from Lafayette. I told her that I was. She said her husband was coming in their four wheel drive Cherokee to pick her up and she had room for three passengers. About and hour later, he showed up and we headed home. They roads were almost impassable. People were off the road everywhere. Highway 287 was a nightmare and I realized that the situation I was in was a piece of cake compared to what others were going through.I arrived home at 11:00 P.M. Twelve hours after I left work. Thank you Beth and Randy for rescuing me from a night at a shelter on a cot. You were and are my Christmas Angels!!!

1 comment:

Balsamae said...

OMG.... i can't believe it took you so long to get home! i left at 11 as well, and missed the 1st train, just to catch one a block over from our building, and damn if i wasn't all comfy & warm when they had an accident on speer and i had to go down to Union station - where i waited. i finally got hom almost 2 hours later - but nothing like you went thru. Jeepers. And it took the gov until noon to call our work day done. Bloody hell!
Although, i have spent sp much time shovling that i will be worn out by the time tuesday comes! LOL

Have a wonderful Christmas!!!!