Over the River and Through the Woods: Long Drive Ahead for Thanksgiving this Year?


Recently, on a day when it was about fifty-five degrees outside, my husband proclaimed it was far too raw for him to go out and grill the steaks we were going to have for dinner. This is the same man who several years before, made me ride three hours with him to his parent’s house for Thanksgiving, in subzero temperatures, in a car with a broken heater.

I voiced my concerns several times about not wanting to go, as becoming a human ice sculpture oddly didn’t appeal to me, but he demanded that we would be there—dead or alive. Realizing it was no use to argue with him, I layered myself in several sweaters, scarves, and blankets and we set off on our journey across the arctic tundra.

About an hour into the trip he got pulled over for speeding. When the officer came over to the car he asked what the hurry was, Tim—even though he prides himself on always going at least two hundred miles per hour over the speed limit—fed the cop the line that he had no idea he was going so fast. The officer eyed me curiously—probably because my teeth were chattering faster than the car had been going. “You all right, Miss?” he asked.

“Y-y-y-y-yes, officer, I’m j-j-just a tad c-c-c-cold.” I managed to get out through blue lips that were difficult to move. Tim confessed that the car heater was broken. Now more concerned with that than the Indie 500 race Tim had been simulating, he told us he hoped we didn’t have a long drive ahead of us. I stated—through heavy layers of steam—that we were making a three hour trip to Tim’s parents’ house for Thanksgiving.  Tim shot me a look, as if I were trying to make him look bad.

“Why would anyone in their right mind travel all that way with a broken car heater on a day like this?” The officer asked. “I’ll let you off with just a warning as long as you get this pretty lady a nice big, hot cup of coffee someplace very soon.” Tim agreed, shot me another look, and we drove off.

“Do you really think you need coffee?” Tim asked—not feeling the effects of the cold nearly as much as I because his core is made from ice—“We’re already behind schedule and my mother won’t be happy if we’re late.”

“W-w-w-would she be h-h-h-happy if I fr-fr-fr-froze to death? Wait, d-d-don’t answer th-th-that, just g-g-get me that c-c-c-coffee, please.” Sighing his most exasperated, put-upon sigh, he pulled off the highway and into a parking lot of some local donut hole-in-the-wall. Then, with an attitude, went in and bought me a hot beverage.

“You owe me,” he said, with a look of disdain. I grabbed the cup and clung to its warmth like my life depended on it—which it probably did—and we sped off.

“D-d-don’t go s-s-so fast, the n-n-next cop m-m-might not l-l-let you off th-th-the hook,” I warned.

“Look, I wouldn’t have had to speed if it wasn’t for you. First, you complained on and on before we left that a little cold weather should keep us from such an all-important event that the fate of the world depends upon. Then you had to bat your eyelashes at that cop so I’d be forced to go way out of my way to get you a coffee.”

I gave up trying to argue, because—as usual—there was no talking any sense into him, and decided to concentrate my energies on consuming my coffee before it turned to ice. I said nothing for several miles.

“Are you trying to give me the cold shoulder?” Tim asked.

“What other k-k-kind of sh-sh-shoudler could I give you, g-g-given the f-f-fact that it’s about t-t-ten degrees in the c-c-car?” I countered.

We rode in silence the rest of the way.

By the time we got there, I could no longer feel my limbs. Tim jumped out of the car and scrambled for the house. He turned back and saw that I hadn’t yet moved. “Hurry up,” he said, “we’re already late!” Instead of trying to help me open the door, he stood and watched in impatient annoyance as I struggled to grasp the door handle with the icicles that had once been my fingers. I then slowly hoisted my frozen legs out of the car, and attempted to walk up the driveway with all the grace a block of ice can muster. Tim rolled his eyes.

“My mother will not be pleased that you made us late like this,” he said as we got to the front steps. And he was right, because as soon as we walked through the door, the reception we got for our tardiness was far colder than any part of the car ride had been.

Moral of the story: If you find yourself making a journey this holiday season with a busted car heater—at your husband’s insistence—and he happens to get pulled over for speeding, ditch your husband for the cute cop and live happily ever after riding around in a nice, warm  police car.  😉