Feb 9, 2011

Snow Motel


Another week. Another snow day stuck in the house.

Driving in the snow isn't really something the Thomas family relishes. I mean, we're not completely opposed to it, but on a scale from one to ten, I'd say we're a six or seven when it comes to snow-driving aversion. Although, after getting pushed out of snowy intersections twice last week by complete strangers, I'd say I'm becoming a little immune to the anxiousness of winter weather motoring.

But no one, I mean no one wants to be stuck driving in the car with my dad when it's icy or snowy. This is the person that says "left is death" if you make a left turn under normal conditions, and acts like he can't see the exit ramp off the highway if it's like twilight or even nearing twilight.

Which is why when an unexpected snow and ice storm hit the Okahoma-Texas region during spring break of (I think if I do my math right) let's say 1988, we spent three days stuck at what I now call... The Snow Motel.


Now when our family – Mom, Dad, Me, Donny and Kathleen – left home for our family road trip everything was peachy keen. Yes, that's our Ford LTD station wagon. Yes indeed.


But on the way back home a week later, the weather took a turn for the worse. As we tried to make it down the interstate we just finally encountered an icy overpass that our poor wagon couldn't pull the boat (oh, we were pulling Dad's boat)... that we couldn't pull the boat across.

So we pulled over in Gainesville, Texas and found one of the last available rooms at a motel there. We quickly realized that we made the right choice, as within hours the motel was at full capacity, stranded truckers and travelers were sleeping in the lobby and we were grateful for our one room. Mom and Dad on one bed, me and Grandma on the other (oh, did I mention we were bringing our Grandma back with us for a visit? Yeah, we're like the Griswalds here people!) Then we had a little cot for Donny and Kathleen I think.

We were stuck there, seriously, for like three days. So what is there to do at the Snow Motel in Gainesville, Texas?

1. Mom and Grandma would frequently trek across the street to some Red Cross station there where they would visit with other stranded travelers and drink coffee and get free donuts. This was mortifyingly embarrassing to me because a.) I was thirteen, so everything was mortifyingly embarrassing to me and b.) I thought that it was really weird and inappropriate of my mom and grandma to take advantage of the Red Cross services like that... I mean, that was for people who were in trouble. Geeez. I guess I imagined a gym full of refugees over there or something. But really, it was probably just a bunch of other moms and grandmas who were sick of being stuck in this shelter with their bored kids and anxious husbands.

2. Kathleen got super sick. Like fever hallucinating. We just let her sweat it out on her cot in the corner of our room. So basically the entire experience for her was a total blur.

3. We rented The Milagro Beanfield War on the pay-per-view box of our crappy little motel room TV on like the second night. Random. This was before iPhones and wireless, people.

4. And while everyone just waited and waited for the thaw, watching TV, drinking their inappropriate Red Cross coffee, and feverishly sweating on their little pathetic cot... Donny and I had the most, most fun.

I don't remember all the details. Just that this motel was basically like a snowy, locked-down labrynth of snowy stairwells and icy empty corridors (all the grownups and normal kids I guess were bundled in their rooms) as Donny and I concocted this awesome epic spy game. It really was the precursor to the Bourne Identity in my opinion.

We literally played from morning to night chasing each other around, hiding, plotting, dramatically peering around corners. So much fun that I forgot to be thirteen and mortifyingly embarrassed. Now usually Kathleen and Donny were the ones goofing around when it came to outdoor shenanigans, and I was the inside girl who locked her door and told them to go away.


Look at my cool coat. It was like a white sweater knit on the outside with pink and tan sewed on patches.


Grandma is totally going to throw that at someone and steal their Red Cross donut.


But, I guess what happens at The Snow Motel, stays at The Snow Motel.


  1. After reading the headline and before getting to the bulk of this post I immediately started reminiscing about those Red Cross doughnuts (because you know, I was too young for coffee and being embarrassed) and getting sick! I remember hallucinating that Donny was trying to kill me - it wasn't Donny at all but his jean jacket hanging on the motel door that was plotting my death.

    Also, I'm glad to see that I was appropriately dressed for the Snowpocalypse even at 6.

  2. I seriously love your blog. Maybe because I'm the youngest of three I can identify a little and learn a little about the oldest-child perspective? Dunno... I just love your stories. Always entertaining. Thanks for sharing them!

  3. Kathleen, I always think you're my sister commenting at first. And I'm like, wow, Kathleen's being so nice. Ha. But you two probably just have some younger sister connection.

    And to other "And Kathleen" I remember you were so jealous that Donny and I got to run around. But you did look cute in the picture at least.

  4. I remember that 1988 snow. That was the first year I went sledding down some hill in the OKCMetro. I dunno where but having no real sled, we used cardboard boxes covered with huge black trashbags. That didn't work so we took off the bags. Can I just say that the result was an awful lot like the effect Clark Griswold had with his lubricant spray.

    Good times.

  5. That snow was a big deal. In fact, one time I was talking about it with my college boyfriend. I found out that he had been snowed in over that same spring break, with his entire family, just like us... get this... at the exact SAME MOTEL!

  6. I totally remember the spring break snow! My brother and I built a sweet fort made from packed snow bricks. It basically looked like an ice castle (to my elementary school aged eyes, anyways).

  7. Listen to us. We sound like old men. "I remember that spring breaker it was the snow of '88..." Ha. It obviously left an impression.