First Advent–Ice, Graduation, and Broken Things


Well, we are back from our trip to Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri to see our son graduate from Basic Training. We woke up that morning at our home to visions of sheets of ice on everything; cars, trees, houses, downed power lines. We despaired of even going and called the hotel we had booked to see what the conditions were like down there. They told us that graduation was cancelled because they saw an announcement on the local news. Since we always have to get it straight from the horse’s mouth, we called his Company Commander’s office and asked the person answering the phone. They said graduation was still a go as far as they knew. So, we quickly grabbed our stuff, hoped for the best, and we started out at 10 a.m. Friday morning. The 3 hour trip took us 6 ½ hours to complete! The highway was clear from north of East St. Louis until we reached I44 and then it was almost impossible. Sheets of ice, frozen highways, trees covered in ice were familiar hazards, but we weren’t prepared for how many truck drivers were on the road between St. Louis and Ft. Leonard Wood! Good grief. These people are hazardous to auto drivers everywhere. Most of the wrecks were of jack-knifed semi-tractor trailers. The roads were not scraped at all and we were traveling at a speed of 25 mph for most of the way. Needless to say we missed the graduation ceremony, but our son and his girlfriend were just elated that we were there at all. He looked very handsome in his uniform and shiny shoes! We grabbed the boy, high-tailed it off base and checked into our rooms. We had to have him back on base by 9:00 p.m. every night, but we spent the majority of the weekend with him. We ate dinner, played some Yahtzee and Uno and basically went over some bookkeeping stuff with his bank account. He seems happy and content where he is and has goals for the future, which is definately more than when he was at college, it seems. Overall, it was a good trip and the return leg was faster by 2 hours and 45 minutes!

Back home, we now have to assess the damage. We lost two and a half trees in our backyard to ice, which snapped off the branches and left nothing but very tall stumps. One branch fell on our car that morning, but it wasn’t a big tree, we removed it before we left for the weekend, and saw that it didn’t do much damage to our son’s car. Our daughter broke her rear windshield trying to get ice off her car to go to work so we have to replace that. Unfortunately, our family is one of those that makes too much money to receive help with medical and insurance bills and are too poor to pay for these expenses ourselves because our deductibles are too high to keep costs down. So, we are broke this weekend. We haven’t even gotten our Christmas tree yet. Fun. Oh, well, I’m thankful that we got to see our son this weekend, that we all got there and back in one piece, and that we are all happy and healthy. I’m hoping Advent will be a time to renew, recharge, and be filled with hope for the coming season rather than be a time of stress. May you all experience hopeful blessings as well.