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Out On The Mudline

Winter Trips Often Included Traveling In Snow

By W.P. Sissell

A Trip to the Mountains

    Nannette and I should have known better than make an appointment the day after the day after Christmas, with our doctor in Clinton, Arkansas.  At the “making” we discussed the likely-hood of snow and told them that if the weather was bad, don’t even expect us.  Doctor Warren “okayed” the arrangement because he specifically wanted to see Nannette in three months.  Dr. Warren, D.D.S. a graduate of University of Tennessee is, in addition,  an expert on Integrated Autonomic Analysis.  He uses few tests like X ray, Stress, Cat-scan, blood and/or urinalysis, etc.  You may be skeptical, as I was, but it works.  We met Dr. Warren through our daughter several years ago. She is also one of his devoted patients.  

Previous Snow Experiences

    Why should we have known better?  Many years ago, 1950 I think,  we set out for Chevy Chase, Maryland to spend Christmas with my older sister.  We were young and didn’t pay much attention to weather conditions.  I had, just three or so years earlier,  spent Christmas in Germany where the snow, although present in quantities, presented little trouble.  

    Late that first evening, as we sat next to an out looking window of a restaurant in Bristol, Tennessee, we noted that it had begun to snow.  Now our finances were rather low and we had not planned on spending extra days in a motel somewhere.  We decided that we would continue our trip.  I had been the driver all day so Nannette drove.  At about eleven – it’s still snowing – she got behind a snowplow and followed it for many miles.  We made it.  

Reason  Two

    In the early 70’s, I think it was the first time that the reservoirs ran over the emergency spillways, I had a letter from the wife of a close army buddy, Don Starkey, who lived in Attica, Ohio. Don, now suffering from Parkinson, told Diane, his wife,  that he wished that he could see and talk to Sissell one more time.      As we left Nashville I noticed that the right side of the trees along the highway were white.  We marveled at the beauty of nature, not connecting the climb of the highway with the fact that it was snowing at the higher level.  Suddenly we were into that higher level with snow blowing cross-wise to the roadway.

     From that point just above Nashville to Indianapolis snow was falling.  Our destination was Bucyrus, Ohio, which we made without difficulty.  The next morning was different – 15 inches of snow – lumps of snow along the highway marked the position of abandoned  cars.  The snowplows evidently started early that morning for the roadways were fairly clear, especially where there was room for the snow.  

    Overpasses and bridges were another story.  Attica was only a short distance above Bucyrus and we were soon there. Although I had seen snow like that in Europe – it was about that deep in Camp Lucky Strike – my first home in France,  but Nannette had never even dreamed about that much “beautiful” snow.  After a short visit with Don we were on our way again.  

Arkansas Bound

    “Happenings” began to occur on our trip to the dentist even before we left Mississippi.  As I dozed, Nannette always drives to the first rest area in Arkansas-before we get to the mountains, a sudden lurch of the car woke me. When I opened my eyes, there, outside my window was a candidate for the “trophy buck of the year.”  If the window had been down I could have patted that deer on the back.  Thankfully, in response to our deer whistles, he swerved back into the undergrowth of the Bayou from which he came.

    From there to Beebe the trip was “as usual.”  We stopped for several hours in Beebe for a visit with friends Bob and Mary Samuels, who have recently changed their address to Beebe so that they are close to their daughter and family.  

    After a delicious lunch we left for Clinton.  In a short time the weather began to change.  For the last fifty or so miles our so far normal drive turned into something like the Ohio trip of years ago.  

    Thankfully, very little accumulation remained the next morning and we were able to leave.  For the first part of the trip back to Conway we were in clouds.  At the little village of Damascus, where we stopped the day before – in the snow –the sun was shining brightly.  Just south of Damascus the clouds (heavy fog) were again a problem but almost cleared by the time we arrived in Conway.  From there home the trip was routine.  

    We did not, and will not likely, schedule an appointment during the winter months – but who knows what the future will bring.  

    Our wish for you is a happy, healthy and prosperous 2008.  You can reach me most of the time at 23541 Highway 6, Batesville, Mississippi 38606, 662-563-9879 or

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