Red Mittens - not just for hands any more! Photo credit: polarbearstale.blogspot.com
We were shopping.
I will admit, here, that shopping is not my favourite activity.
I need a really good excuse.
It was Christmas.
Okay, Christmas is a really good excuse . . .
My youngest two children and I were out to find a gift for Grant.
Their Dad, my Sweetheart.
The hardest person to shop for.
After much wrinkle-browed thought, we had decided that whatever we were seeking would best be found at Lee Valley Tools.
My husband's favourite place on earth.
It is a long-standing family joke that he must go once a month to LVT to pay homage to Thor, the Tool God.
But I digress . . .
We set out.
It was December.
In Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, winter equals snow.
But avoid those with chattering teeth.
Th-th-they c-c-c-can n-n-n-never be t-t-t-trusted.
Where was I?
Oh, yes. Winter. Shopping. Setting out.
At first, things went well.
A heavy, wet snow was falling thickly, but the window wipers were managing to keep the windshield clear – sort of.
We made it into the city.
And immediately slowed to a snail's pace.
Let me describe the scene for those of you not familiar with travel accompanied by snow: All roads are now white. And slippery. All surfaces have become heavily coated in ice. Nothing is recognizable. Little is even visible.
The windshield wipers are your best, and only, friends.
But even they, too, get clogged with snow and need the occasional boost.
This is accomplished by stopping. Getting out of the vehicle. And slapping said wiper against the window hard enough to remove any accumulated snow.
Or, if you are my husband, by opening the driver's window and catching the wiper when it is in its furthest upright position and giving it a quick snap while it is still in motion.
It's all about timing.
Neither of which I have.
And both of which were to be needed shortly.
Several times, I pulled out of the crawling traffic and performed the necessary operation to clear the windshield.
Then waited for a break in the traffic and pulled back in.
Total time wasted? Hours.
Okay, well, it seemed like hours.
There must be a better way.
I would try Grant's method!
It was genius!
When the traffic had stopped for yet another light, or stalled vehicle, I quickly rolled down the window. Then I reached out.
I waited for just the right moment, when the wipers were at their apex (neat word, right?)
I reached out and caught the top of the wiper.
Okay, that didn't sound good.
As the wipers began their downward stroke, I realized what I had done.
The blade was still in my hand.
I had snapped the entire thing off it's arm.
Umm . . . oops?
The window quickly became covered in a blanket of white.
Well, half of it at any rate.
Unfortunately, it was the driver's half.
Rather necessary if you want to see where you are going.
And usually, the driver does.
Something needed to be done.
And there was no one but me to do it.
Quickly, I climbed out and switched my only remaining wiper blade to the driver's side.
Okay. Now I could see.
But now, the other side of the windshield was suffering for the lack of wiper-age.
I looked around.
Our options were . . . limited.
“What about this?” My daughter's voice from the back seat.
She was holding up her red mitten.
I stared at it.
Huh. Might work.
I took it and, climbing out into the storm once more, proceed to tie it to the other wiper arm.
We switched on the wipers.
Now we had a wiper and a . . . mitten.
I don't have to tell you how it looked.
In point of fact, we giggled every time that mitten came into sight.
But it worked.
We finished our trip.
Shopping done. Purchases made.
Van safely parked back on the driveway.
And Grant replaced the wiper that had so inconveniently decided to come off.
The wiper, not Grant.
I learned several things from this:
Don't live in Canada
Don't go anywhere without your red mittens.
Okay, you're right. I didn't learn anything because:
Diane was born and raised on one of the last of the great old Southern Alberta ranches. A way of life that is fast disappearing now. Through her memories and stories, she keeps it alive. And even, at times, accurate . . .