A driving snow storm
In February 1986, Joshua had experienced several low blood sugar reactions. His nurse, Sally, and I thought it might be best if he and I drove up to Reno for a more complete checkup at the diabetes clinic. Joshua and I left on a clear morning, packed for the typical three-hour ride through the Sierra Nevada Mountains. My four-wheel-drive Jeep was loaded with diabetes supplies as well as extra food, water, blankets, flares, and other winter-emergency items.
An hour from home, a sudden snow began to fall. I shifted into low gear to maneuver the switch back up the fifteen hundred feet from the Mono Lake Basin toward Conway Summit at eighty-one hundred feet. The snow became wet and heavy, and soon the “Sierra Cement” began to obscure the road. The guardrail marking the edge of the highway became invisible in the whiteout. My body stiffened as the car hugged the mountainside. There was no turning back, no place to take shelter. We had to keep moving.
“Mom, don’t worry,” Joshua said as we approached the curving summit. “Poppy is watching over us.” Before I could respond to his comment about my father, a snowplow appeared in front of us. I didn’t dare interrupt my concentration or take my eyes off its taillights, yet I could feel the smile and relief on Joshua’s face.
For the next five hours, my eyes fixed on the snowplow’s taillights. As we followed the plow out of the Carson Valley, the blizzard lessened, as did my grip on the steering wheel. The plow turned off the highway just as we arrived within Reno’s city limits. From there it was clear driving to the hospital, where Joshua had his checkup. Everything was normal.
That evening he and I returned home safely, exhausted and grateful that Poppy, our guardian angel, had been watching over us.