A Stupid Decision


Wednesday night I made a stupid decision. I drove Putney Mountain at night and the conditions were bad.

I had driven the back mountain road from our house in Brookline up over Putney Mountain a few times the week before, and though a bit nerve wracking, I’d made it just fine.

In my mind, I must have thought it would not be too much different Wednesday night. We were edging along at an even pace until we got halfway down the Brookline side. Due to the flow of water in that area, there were many patches of ice. We crept along very slowly, hugging the edges of the road, keeping the all-wheel-drive, winter tires on any traction we could find.

It was slow going and felt a bit surreal. We seemed to be in a time warp; slowly driving around corner after corner, thinking “didn’t we just drive by this!”

At times like this you appreciate people who stay calm. Dylan knew not to say much.

We got to a place that was a sheet of ice. The edge was no longer helping and we slid. It was a slow-motion affair. I gently pumped the breaks until we slid into an area that was a pull off. We tried to back up, but slid again to the same spot.

I turned off the car and got out. I grabbed the bag of General Store BLTs we had purchased for a quick dinner. Dylan had his phone. We had service out in the middle of nowhere.

Dylan left a message for Daddy, who works in a room away from the phone and does not hear it ring. It could have been hours until he saw the blinking light with Dylan exclaiming, “DAD, DAD, DAD, pick-up!” Dylan messaged him on Facebook and he responded right away. He was on his way.

We started walking. I told Dyl to bundle up. I was thankful I had a hat and gloves. Dyl noted how FOR YEARS I had said, “dress warm in the winter ’cause you never know when the car could break down.”

It had been a super windy day. The sky was crisp and dark, so many stars visible through the outline of tree branches, a quiet beauty.

We walked on the ice, by the light of Dyl’s phone. Neither of us slipped. I had the BLT’s.

We got to a place just up from Johnny Swings and there were two trees down. Someone had pushed them just enough to get a small car by. After we passed these trees, we saw daddy’s lights. He picked us up. We drove home and ate the BLT’s.

The next day I had a thought hangover all day. How stupid I was for taking that chance. Thoughts, bad feelings, kept coming at me, questions, over and over, “what if we had slid off the road,” “what if something had happened to Dylan,” “How could I have been so stupid?”

Stupid was the word of the day for me.

My car is still there. If it warms up today, maybe I will have the guts to go and get it ~ and I will be erring heavily on the side of caution. Richard would do it for me, I am sure, but this was my mess, so I will be the one to drive our car off Putney Mountain.


  1. I always know what the right thing to do is, after the fact. Not so much the first time around. Forgive yourself. In fact, you were prepared with warm clothes, food, phone. Everything turned out fine.

      1. Oh, Marjorie! Don’t be so hard on yourself … I remember about four or five years ago I was with my elderly parents from Newfane and we were on the Putney Mountain Road in the wintertime. There have not been many times in my life that I thought I might die, but that was definitely on of them. It sounds as though you and Dylan escaped with only reflections to weigh you down. A lesson learned! Glad you are doing well.

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