"If the world had a front porch like we did back then, we'd still have our problems but we'd all be friends."
This Tracy Lawrence tune kept running through my head as I packed my family into the mini-van and headed to western New York for a weekend of skiing, boarding and sledding.
The plan was simple, much like the message in the Tracy Lawrence song I was still humming. But executing it, as we were about to find out, was difficult.
As we turned onto I-90 and headed toward Erie, Pa., and points beyond, the snow began to swirl and reflect in our headlights. Eventually, the road disappeared completely and we were left to follow whatever beacon happened to be around –- be it taillights or tracks.
Driving along the rural back roads of western New York, the snow fell faster and the whipping wind caused whiteouts that blinded us. To make matters worse, we were completely alone. No plows. No traffic.
Slipping and sliding along, our tires endlessly reaching for traction on the invisible road, we crested the first of two big hills we had to cross to get to the resort. Rounding a bend on the downhill side, our headlights suddenly illuminated a deer struggling to gain her footing on the frozen road.
Unable to slow down in time, we swung over and passed her in the left hand lane, praying there was nobody coming the other way.
Safely back on our side of the road, we breathed yet another sigh of relief in a night filled with sighs and wound our way through some bottomland headed for the second, larger hill.
With no other option but to continue, we built up as much speed as possible and starting slipping and sliding up the second hill. About a third of the way up, we came to a complete stop, front wheels spinning uselessly in the snow.
With no other solutions coming to mind, I told my brother-in-law to get out and push. He stepped out the door and promptly fell on the sheet of ice that was the road. Getting up, he went to the back of the car and started pushing.
Not long after, he came a-hoofin' up the side of the van and jumped in the front seat. I turned and said, "Good job!" He replied, "I didn't have a choice. There was a dog chasing me!"
Eventually, we made it to the resort and had a good laugh over all the events that had made our simple plan so difficult to execute.
I'm sure you have plenty of stories of your own and we'd love to hear them and pass them along to all the readers of Parks & Rec Business.
Please think of us as The Front Porch to the parks and recreation world. We might not be able to solve all our daily business problems, but we can certainly try. And if along the way we become friends, well, that's all the better.
Enjoy this issue and have a good month.
Rodney J. Auth
President & Publisher