Post appears on the KVBPR Blog.
One of my favorite holiday memories stems from a trip that, from the outside, looks like a total disaster. Every other Christmas my mom, dad, brother and I would pile into our Suburban and make the drive from Northern Virginia to Minnesota to spend the holiday with family. The two-day drives there and back were always long, but in 1999 the trip home became slightly longer.
As we headed through Illinois a heavy snow began to fall. The snow became so thick that it forced us to take an early detour off the highway in Leroy, Ill. and check into the closest Econo Lodge. Much to our surprise, when we woke up the next morning enough snow had fallen to completely shut down the highways, leaving us stranded for the day. There was nothing we could do but bundle up and make the trek to the truck stop across the street for a warm breakfast, cooked and served by the staff who had been on shift the night before and could not make it home.
After loading ourselves down with waffles and pancakes, we spent the rest of the day in the hotel watching movies, playing the few board games we’d packed for the journey, and eating the food Grandma had given us to take home – Christmas cookies, apple pie and krumkake. The following day the snow had cleared enough for us to get back on the road and continue the drive, at a whopping 35 mph.
This trip may sound like a nightmare, but it actually gave us the gift of a few more days of holiday family time, and memories that are among my favorites at this time of year.