My Most Memorable New Year's Eve
I recently came upon a letter I had written to my family telling about the adventurous New Year's Eve we had in 1985. The letter wasn't dated but I was able to pin down the year using clues from the letter. It was blowing and snowing on the night of December 31st, but we were primed for a party so we off we drove..
The New Year's celebration was being held at Jim and Abbie's, friends of ours whose house was located at the end of a kilometer long driveway which was flanked on both sides by flat open fields. We drove through horizontal snow blitzing across the highway to get to their driveway and once there, we were confronted with a big piece of plywood with a warning hastily painted on it. It said: “4-WHEEL DRIVE ONLY, OTHERS FLASH THIER LIGHTS”
We had wondered about the condition of their drift-prone driveway when we left our house, but figured it wouldn't be too bad. The sign made us reconsider, and when we peered through the darkness and sideways blowing snow we could see that snow drifts were beginning to build across the driveway, but as far as I could tell the drive looked doable. Besides, our Subaru was a four wheel drive so I put it into gear and we proceeded into blizzard.
Those first drifts we came to didn't present any problems, but the further we drove, the bigger the drifts got. We were the first party to attempt the drive, so we were breaking trail, which slowed our progress. About a third of the way down the drive we hit a drift that stopped us. I opened the car door to check out our situation and discovered that the snow was up to the bottom of the door. The snow was still blowing furiously. My wife decided to proceed on foot to the house.
Fortunately soon after our sudden stop, John, another party-goer along with Jim, our host (I don't know why he was with John), arrived behind me in John's SUV. They got out and manually pushed me through the drift, then followed me to the house. Once there it was decided that maybe no one should be attempting the drive, because the chances were good they would be trapped by the snow and wouldn't be able to get back out after the party. I decided to drive my car back to park it on the road, I turned around, as did John with his vehicle, and following him was Jim in his Land Rover, who had both four wheel drive plus chains on the tires.
Going back down the driveway didn’t present much of a problem since there were now tracks through the snow. John and I parked our vehicles down by the road, and then climbed into Jim's Land Rover to be chauffeured back to the house. During the first part of the party, everyone just stayed crowded around the big window eating snacks and watching four wheel drive vehicles fight their way up the driveway, only to get to the house, turn around and drive back to the road, to park.
Two of the party goers did decide to keep their big 4x4 pickups at the house. Jim, our host was kept busy for the first two hours of the party ferrying people back and forth from the road to the house in his Land Rover.
When most everyone had arrived, and there was no longer anything to see out of the window, the party began in earnest. The music that was being played didn't inspire any dancing until finally the guy that was playing at being a DJ put on Dire Strait's “Money For Nothing”. That drew everyone onto the dance floor. A couple of other good songs kept them there, but the music again deteriorated back to uninspiring songs, and the dancing momentum started to deflate, so once again the DJ put on “Money For Nothing,” and the energy in the room again began to peak. This sequence of music happened about three times during the evening, but everyone had lots of fun.
After we had ushered in 1986 and people began to tire, they put on their coats and boots, took a big breathe, and opened the door to face the weather, which had deteriorated to the point where Jim no longer used his Land Rover, but instead fired his snowmobile that towed a sled behind it.
The blizzard was really screaming across the field and driveway as Peter climbed on the snowmobile behind Jim, while Kathy and Harold huddled into positions on the sled. Jim really had to really throttle up the snowmobile to move of all the weight of the passengers. He blasted through one drift after another, gunning his way through the blizzard to the road.
When he arrived at the cars, he turned around and discovered that Kathy and Harold had vanished from the sled. He headed back to find them. They had been thrown off when they hit a drift about half way back the driveway. Even though Harold was just wearing regular shoes instead of boots, both he and Kathy opted for walking back to the cars rather than getting on the sled again. Later another couple who had also taken the sled said that they could hardly breathe with all of the cold air and blowing snow in their faces.
We stayed at the party until 3:30 AM. Then left the house with the final group. We were able to hitch a ride in one of the big 4x4 pickups. My wife got to ride in the cab, while I and two other tired partiers huddled back of the pickup. By this time the drifting snow had again totally filled up the vehicle tracks on the driveway, and before we had gotten out of Jim and Abbie's yard, the truck was stopped dead by a drift.
With the help of us guys pushing the front of the truck, Tim, the driver, was able to back out of the drift, then we again took our positions in the bed of the truck. Tim stomped on the gas pedal, and with the engine roaring we blasted through the drift, with those of us in the back hanging on for our lives. Tim's truck exploded through several other drifts that stood in his way, until we again got bogged down several more times and had get out and push, but eventually we got out to the road and our cars. We looked back through the darkness, amazed by the fury of the wind and snow that continued to scream across the fields and Jim and Abbie's driveway.
Our drive back home was peaceful and uneventful. Ten minutes later when we finally arrived home we were surprised to discover that there wasn't any blowing or drifting snow at our house.
It had been a very memorable New Year's Eve.
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