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It’s best to stay home during bad weather if possible. I wasn’t always so wise.

This weekend is the Ozarks Writers League Conference. I’ve been looking forward to it for a long time. Mother Nature is threatening her wrath in some of the locales from which a few of our members hale, and that is going to keep some people from attending. The flu is also a factor this time, and I hope all of you who are suffering from the virus get better soon.

I understand staying home due to the threat of weather. I was visiting a friend in St. Louis one time when a horrible snow storm was predicted. I ignored the warnings. I was ready to go home, and it wasn’t snowing when I left. I fancied myself a good driver in all conditions. While there is some truth to that, it’s best not to tempt fate.

I lived roughly four hours from St. Louis at the time. I’d been on the road for about half an hour when it started snowing. It wasn’t the gentle snow that softly drifts down in giant fluffy flakes, either. I was navigating the highway in a snowpocalypse. I couldn’t see 20 feet in front of me. I had trouble simply seeing the road. It was horrible! I should have turned around or stopped at the first motel I saw. I didn’t do either of those things. I was young and dumb.

Thankfully, I wasn’t alone on the highway. I got behind a tractor trailer heading in the same direction. I focused on staying in his tracks so I wouldn’t accidentally drive off the road. We traveled slowly and steadily. I stayed a safe distance behind the truck and paced him all the way to my exit. My four hour drive took over six hours, but I made it home alive and well.

Looking back at the foolishness of my youth, I realize that I could easily have been killed that day. I should have stayed another night with my friend where I was safe. I could have called in to work and told them I was stuck in St. Louis and needed to take a vacation day. That’s exactly what I would do in the same situation now. Middle age has a few advantages, and wisdom is the best one I’ve found so far.

I check the weather forecast before I travel now. I plan my route carefully, and form a Plan B. I’m at the conference today, but I packed enough of everything to last another a day in case the weather deteriorates and I’m stuck away from home for an extra night. I like my life. I don’t want to risk it by driving mountain roads in a snow or ice storm.

Winter isn’t finished with us yet. Be careful out there!

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