Already, today's unexpected snow storm has a name: Snowtober. Who would have expected so much snow here in the Northeast? Our family has had an eventful day, thanks to the weather. And we are ever so grateful to be back in our heated home, with the only storm damage being large branches the heavy snows managed to shear off a tree in our front yard.
The day began early. We four were out of the house by 9 a.m. to attend the Bar Mitzvah of a family friend. During the liturgy, we could see the weather outside changing before our eyes. What began as a pretty fall day looked more like January when we headed to the parking lot.
As today's events unfolded, I was reminded what the rabbi said during the Bar Mitzvah liturgy: how we think that miracles are the exceptions to ordinary life. In truth, he told us, life itself is a miracle.
I could not have predicted today that the day would not only challenge us but also remind us of the miraculous lovingkindness of friends and strangers.
As we were driving farther north for the reception, the snow began falling heavily. Our windshield fogged up and ice covered the windshield. Then, the left windshield wiper stopped working all together. It was too snowy to stop on the shoulder of the interstate to try to fix the wiper. So I directed my husband, who was driving, from the passenger seat as he craned his neck to the right to see out the windshield.
He dropped us off at the reception and went looking for a service station where we could get the wipers fixed. As he was heading back to the reception, he noticed our gas tank was on empty.
So between dinner and desert he headed into the storm to fill the tank. By then, the area had been plunged into a power outage. The reception hall was using its backup generator and all the gas stations were closed. (You can't pump gas without electricity.)
Amid our panic, something beautiful happened. Several friends rallied around us to come up with a solution. AAA? They were asking folks without life-threatening situations to call back. One friend with a full tank offered to brave the storm and find an open station farther off. Understand how dangerous this was: it was evening, traffic lights were out and power lines were down.
While D. was out driving, another friend was trying to siphon gas from his tank into a gas can, but we discovered you can't do that with the garden hose we borrowed from the reception hall. The manager called a nearby hotel and scored us the last room at a nearby inn in case we needed it. A waitress used her cell phone to see if she could find open gas stations.
In the end, D. found an open station, filled a gas can and headed back to us. Three families stayed an extra hour and half after the reception to keep us company in the hall's lobby.
Finally, we all were able to go on our ways. And now my family is at home at last. Today, friends and strangers carried us today, comforted us, and gave us their suggestions, their time and their presence so we could arrive at our destination.