Saturday, May. 18, 2024

Snow Business

With three Chronicle staff members stuck in various airports around the country today, those of us who made it into the Middleburg, Va., office through the season’s worst snowstorm can well imagine what’s going through their minds.
   

PUBLISHED

ADVERTISEMENT

With three Chronicle staff members stuck in various airports around the country today, those of us who made it into the Middleburg, Va., office through the season’s worst snowstorm can well imagine what’s going through their minds.
   
You see, even though we all love traveling to exotic (and not-so-exotic) locales around the country and world to report on equestrian competitions, sometimes the best stories we return home with don’t necessarily involve the horses. The old adage “getting there is half the battle” occasionally manifests into “getting there (or home) is the entire battle,” and in Chronicle lore there have been incredible journeys and stories along the way.
   
Becoming a victim of the weather is one situation that we simply can’t escape in our vocation, and today I fondly recalled the time that I was caught in Florida during the infamous 2003 President’s Day Storm II. This was an epic event in Washington D.C., where 30″ of snow fell over the February weekend. Flights were canceled for days, and I was unable to get home until Wednesday night on one of the first flights back into Washington’s Dulles Airport.
   
There were several mistakes I made during this trip and lessons I learned, which I’ve passed on to my friends and co-workers, of course.
   
First, my husband had been snowed in with our 3-year-old son without electricity for three days, so it was a critical mistake to spend one of my free days at the pool and return home with a suntan. Even though I was working while catching rays, my obvious transgression was in complete opposition to entertaining a grumpy toddler in the cold without lights or hot food.
   
Secondly, I will always travel to and from Florida with paddock boots, gloves, a scarf and a warm coat. Yes, carting winter clothes south is a hassle, but I’ll never forget the midnight ride on the shuttle bus out to the economy parking lot. When those of us on the packed bus—a few only wearing shorts and flip-flops!—saw the six-foot piles of snow the plows had shoved against the parked cars, there was a collective gasp of amazement and despair.
   
One man, thinking himself a step ahead, had somehow found a dustpan on the way back and planned to dig his car out with it. Without a coat or gloves, he immediately saw the futility and just laughed along with the rest of us.
   
Third, I never park my car in the economy lot in the winter without checking the extended weather forecast. If there’s any chance of snow, I’ll spend the extra few dollars and park in the garage. Thankfully, I was not one of those who had to wait into the wee hours of the morning for airport personnel to help dig out the car.
   
Because the fourth and most important lesson learned is to always cherish your friends—my good friend and her husband drove out to the airport and spent an hour digging out my car so I wouldn’t face that ominous chore upon returning. So, while I drove out of the lot I thanked my family and friends for saving me yet again.
   
Although today’s storm wasn’t as record-breaking as the one in 2003, I’m certain when these Chronicle staff members return they’ll have a few more adventures to add to the Chronicle’s jam-packed travel diary.

ADVERTISEMENT

Tricia Booker, Editor

Categories:

ADVERTISEMENT

EXPLORE MORE

Follow us on

Sections

Copyright © 2024 The Chronicle of the Horse