By Laurent d’Entremont
It started out innocently enough when Loran Fevens of Yarmouth asked me if I would do one of my little standup comedy gigs at a Sentimental Journey Christmas dance that he was doing for a senior’s group in New Minas. The date was Dec. 13, and I should have known that 13 was not a lucky number. In spite of my misgivings, I agreed to go with him to the Annapolis Valley.
Loran Fevens is host, organizer and provides the music from his huge music library for the two-hour radio show Sentimental Journey, a very popular show, heard all over the country on many radio stations. This music brings back memories of the 1930’s to the 1950’s, all classic numbers that my generation has heard many times before. Not surprisingly, Fevens is a very popular radio host who loves what he does.
On a cold December afternoon, I left West Pubnico and motored to Yarmouth, where Loran already had his little Toyota Tercel loaded with turn tables, CDs and Christmas records, speakers and God knows what else, barely leaving enough room for a driver and passenger. Our first stop was at the truck stop in Digby, where Loran ordered a coffee (small hot chocolate for me). A policeman stopped us at the out-going ramp, looked at the windshield sticker and waved us on. He did not question what the equipment was all about.
As the passenger, I enjoyed the ride to New Minas. We set up the equipment in the fire hall recreation room and had supper at a Swiss Chalet near by. The evening started early, great music, great Christmas songs, and my comedy gig went very well. Wendy Elliott, a good friend from the Kentville Advertiser, came and took lots of pictures, I was glad to see her again. By now, the snow was starting to fall, much earlier than the weather station had forecasted.
Loran Fevens ended his program at 9:30 p.m. and we loaded the Tercel in a hurry and wasted no time heading home. Just one stop at the Big Stop, where Loran ordered his coffee (small hot chocolate for me) and we were on our way home, three hours away for me in good weather - but this was not good weather. At least an inch of snow had piled on the highway and not a snowplow in sight.
The little Toyota purred like a kitten. With lots of ballast in the back seat and trunk, we drove through the snow towards home, heavy flakes were falling but there was very little wind. The snow kept falling and kept piling while the snowplows were sleeping. A big white van went by at a good speed, spraying us with a white cloud of powered snow, almost like showing off.
I did not say anything, but secretly almost hoped he would slide off the road. Wishing bad luck to someone could happen to you as well, so I kept quiet.
Big snowflakes falling on a windshield can lull your sense of alertness, especially after a long day. Somewhere near the Kings County border I noticed Loran was about to take the ramp instead of following the main road, I kept quiet… which was a good thing. Loran realized his error just a second too late and yanked on the wheel - which was not a good thing. Now going sideways, we missed the guardrail by a foot or so and ended in a big snow bank, which prevented us from sliding in the ditch. I got out and, luck of luck, I managed to push the car back on the road while Loran was steering. Back on the road again.
A bit further down the road, we saw the white van again, it was on its side and a wrecker truck was already on the scene, they waved us on, another stop in Digby (coffee for Loran, hot chocolate for me), by now I was almost enjoying the ride. It was approaching midnight, houses were decorated for Christmas, and white smoke was coming out of chimneys. Ah! The comfort of home. I silently hoped those people would have a very happy Christmas.
The wind and snow had died down…not a snowplow in sight.
At one o’clock in the morning I picked up my car at Loran’s place.
“Were you afraid?” Loran asked.
“Not a bit,” I lied confidently.
“I would have been scared stiff if I had been the passenger,” he said.
The one-hour drive in the snow from Yarmouth to Pubnico was very pleasant, Dreaming of a White Christmas and other Christmas music played on the CBC station…and…not a snowplow in sight.
A Merry Christmas to one and all…may it be your best one ever.