Moonlight reflecting on the snow made it possible for me to see where I was going – alone on a deserted road on a night that had turned bitterly cold. The road continued to be absent of any traffic going west or east. By now most people were probably in nice warm homes having supper. I kept moving on, legs getting stiffer by the minute. It seemed forever before the driver of a pick-up truck slowed to a stop and asked if I wanted a lift. I certainly did. That was usually safe in those days – certainly safer than freezing to death, or so I thought. The cabin was already packed so I had to settle for huddling in the open air back of the truck box. My legs got even number. By the time my good Samaritans reached the Experimental Station my legs were heavy and losing sensation. I had difficulty walking and had become speechless.
Home at last, I now needed to be thawed out. The “thawing process” was not without pain. No one spoke as I lay in a bathtub full of lukewarm water with Mother swishing water over my frosted legs as they regained sensation– Father in the background – no admonishments, no recriminations, nothing but silence.
Silence on this matter persisted and the event was never discussed ever– at least not in my presence. Nor was it ever mentioned by the other children who were on time that night. However I think they must have talked to their parents about the event. Perhaps that truck was not an accident.
Early In the spring Dad resigned his position and we moved back to our Daphne farm. All except me. My parents boarded me in with old friends who had recently retired to Melfort. This allowed me to finish my Grade 9 in the same school. That fall I started Grade 10 in Spalding, just five miles from Daphne. I was now fourteen years old. In Spalding I and a friend from my Rosebush days boarded at the home of our local jack of all trades. Lester was the fiddler in Mother’s little band and they had attended elementary school together. Lester and his patient wife happily spoiled us for the duration of our stay. Two years to be exact.
Dad had always been safety conscious and I had never been a troublesome child. So what had happened that put the two of us at odds? The crack in the relationship was a sharp as the cold snap that I had endured and lasted for about the same period of time. I loved my father and he loved me. In spring and back on our own farm it was as if nothing had happened. It’s only now and looking back that I realize how close we had come to a life changing tragedy.