Nice Saturday Yielded Quickly To Snowy Sunday

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 20, 2014

The shirtsleeve weather Saturday morning felt mighty good in Round Hill, Va. We cut some trees at my oldest son’s home and stacked firewood.

We ate lunch on the deck. The granddaughters ran about barefoot — a delightful time.

On Sunday morning, the sky darkened and the winds picked up. We packed for North Carolina and raced south by noon to beat the predicted snow.

By Roanoke, the storm arrived sooner than expected. We drove through a mix of snow, rain and sleet for an hour or more until we were far enough south to be out of the snow.

By Monday morning, the granddaughters were back in their boots with nearly eight inches of snow. Round Hill schools have missed 12 days.

We had always driven U.S. 220 to Roanoke in our trips to see the granddaughters. The past two times, however, we have taken Interstate 77 to Ft. Chiswell, Va., to connect with Interstate 81. Either way, the entire trip is about five and a half hours. The curvy U.S. 220 can unsettle tender stomachs, but it takes me close to my old Madison roots. Last week it seemed to make more sense to take the straighter road.

Sunday’s return via Ft. Chiswell taught me the term, “wrong-way concurrency.” I-77 is a north-south highway. I-81 is north-south although it more accurately runs northeast-southeast. But at Ft. Chiswell, it is possible to be on both highways and actually be driving due west. There are only a few such directional conflicts in the interstate highway system.

Thank goodness we made it home.

Stopping for hamburgers in Harrisonburg, Va., I noticed a couple of Mennonite families at tables nearby. The women were wearing small prayer caps. In most ways, the Mennonite theology is very similar to my Moravian faith. There may be more Mennonites than Moravians in America. The Mennonites are pacifists. Some don’t vote or accept jury duty. They don’t take oaths and try to avoid lawsuits. Their traditions and dress are similar to the Amish, but they embrace electricity.

As cold as it has been, our severe winter hasn’t killed the chickweed waiting to spring forth in the woods behind my house. After spending the winter in dormancy, the carpet of weeds turned mint green last week.

Pretty soon, it will be growing like crazy.

After several false moves, I staked a favorable position along Interstate 40 in Clemmons on Friday to photograph the passing motorcade of police vehicles that would escort the body of slain wildlife officer Jason Crisp back to his native Burke County for burial. Crisp and his police dog were killed last week by a man being pursued for killing his parents.

Clemmons firefighters and other law enforcement agencies gathered along Interstate 40 to pay tribute to the officer as the motorcade passed for the 100-mile trip from Wake Forest University Baptist Hospital back to Marion.

Interstate 40 is no place for a pedestrian. I dared not get too close to the highway. I stayed along the ditch line, stepping past litter. As I found the right spot I noticed something near me in the ditch — a dead possum. At least I think it was playing dead.

— Dwight Sparks