I remember the New Years Eve of 1969. I was living in Macksville with my parents. My fiancé, now husband, was home for the holidays from college and visiting his parents in Bucklin. He decided to come and get me for New Year Eve and drove from his parents to mine in a snow storm. It had been snowing all day and I still can’t believe that either of our dads allowed us on the road that night but neither one of them stopped us driving in the blizzard in his 1967 Chevelle SS.
When he arrived at 7:30 we immediately started back to Bucklin. We drove west on highway 50 to Lewis. It took about 30 minutes, 20 minutes longer than normal, then we turned south down the old black top road. A few miles south of Lewis the road dead ends and you have to turn right or left at the stop sign. We had traveled this road many times in the past and knew it like the backs of our hands.
As we approached the dead end I saw the warning sign telling us there was a stop ahead. It was snowing so hard, almost a white out; I didn’t see the sign until we were right on top of it. I pointed at the sign but didn’t say anything. My fiancé didn’t see the sign or my motion to remind him about it.
He didn’t know we were at the corner until we were past the stop sign and out in the middle of the east-west road. There was too much snow and it was too slick for him to stop and the car went off the other side of the dead end intersection.
The ditch was probably 4 feet deep and almost filled with snow. When the car came to a stop the nose was in the ditch and the tail was barely on the road. The nose of the car was up against a barb wire fence.
When we looked out the front window, after the car came to a halt, there stood a couple of old cows against the fence. It must have been like dinner and a movie to them. They had probably been standing there for hours waiting for the show to begin. One of them placed her chin on the car and bellowed at us, then slowly turned and walked away, bored with the show.
My fiancé opened the car door and the snow was higher than the floor boards. He got out and tried to rock the car but he couldn’t get the car out by himself. We looked both directions down the highway but there were no cars anywhere to be seen.
We knew there was a farm house about ½ a mile to the east and could see faint lights through the snow. There was one to the west, about the same distance, but the last time we drove by it no one was living there. He decided to walk to the house east of the intersection and see if they were home and could help us.
I stayed in the car to wait for him. As I sat there alone several cows stopped in the 2 foot deep snow to check out the car. They looked it over and rubbed their chins on the hood and then slowly turned and walked toward the farm house and the dry barn.
As I sat there I could imagine the conversation between the heifers when they arrived back in the barn, “You should have seen the car in the ditch; it was almost in our pasture!” “Humans are sure crazy; they are always running off the end of the road.” “They should just walk like we do and they wouldn’t have that problem.” “Yeah; especially in snow like this.” “Who needs those big clumsy machines anyway?”
It seemed like forever, as I sat in the cold, before I saw lights coming down the blacktop. I was happy he’d found help. The road had small hills and I watched the head lights come over a little hill and then drop down out of site and then appeared again.
Finally after what seemed like an eternity the lights were behind the car. When I looked out the back window I could see the farmer and my fiancé behind the car. The farmer hooked the chain to the rear of the car and then to the old pickup and pulled us out of the ditch. When he had the car back on the road he insisted that we come to the house, call our parents and have something warm to drink.
The farmer’s wife had hot chocolate for us and it was good to be in where it was warm. The farmer parked the old beat up pickup in the front yard. He told us they kept the truck there all the time because there was an old man that lived south of them and he drove off the dead end at least twice a week.
Once we were warm and had called our parents we drove on to Bucklin. It was after midnight when we arrived and had missed the New Years celebration. December 31,1969 was our most unforgettable New Years Eve. To contact Sandy: [email protected]