My Turn: Out on the slippery road on Christmas Day
Home Alone – what a great movie. A small boy makes the best of a circumstance handed to him during the holidays. He makes us smile because he does what he can to protect his home and family, even though they have deserted him.
Enter New Hampshire Department of Transportation employees. They themselves have abandoned their own families for the sake of others.
As I sat alone on Christmas Day, missing my own family Christmas, I tried to find a reason to smile.
The snow started in the early morning as our night patrol traveled anxiously, looking for slippery roads. They knew they would have to call out hundreds of employees at the most inopportune time, just as the DOT workers’ small children were waking up to a beautiful snow-covered Christmas morning.
Most of us snow-fighters had woken up early; we knew the call was coming soon. Tiptoeing around the house so as not to wake up the others, we checked the radar and wondered how we could please our family.
How would we explain to them that when they woke up, we would not be there?
Our thoughts then turned to previous storms, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes. Our families needed us at home when the pipes burst, the basement flooded, the power went out, the tree fell on the house. We told them we’d be home as soon as we could, knowing that firefighters, police officers, ambulances, power crews, plumbers and electricians couldn’t make it through if the roads weren’t cleared.
A heck of a choice, public safety over family.
Missing my own family this Christmas and looking for a reason to smile, I reflected on the dedication of my coworkers, the simple acknowledgement of my superiors and the appreciation of the traveling public who gave us more than the “one-finger wave.”
Thank you all for driving safely. Though we will never ask for sympathy, we DOT workers always appreciate acknowledgement for being there when needed.
May the New Year bring a better future to you, and, perhaps, an appreciation to all emergency responders.
(Margaret Smith of Concord is a state Department of Transportation highway patrol foreman.)