That’s the question Sam Bartholomew failed to ask.
And that’s the song Dave Brest was singing to his lady friend when he backed off the edge of the road and got stuck in a drainage ditch. This sequence of events occurred in January 1965 in Edinboro, Pennsylvania. For the uninitiated, prior to global warming, Edinboro was the recipient of over two hundred inches of snow per year.
The first snowfall of the season usually came around Halloween. That was the last we saw of the grass and pavement until the spring thaw sometime around the end of April. Believe it or not, one May I was playing center field in a softball game and we had to stop because the snow was falling so hard the outfielders couldn’t see the infield. If we heard the sound of a bat hitting a ball, we covered our heads and listened for the ball to hit the ground.
In any case, January was a time when Lake Edinboro froze over and people drove around on a thick layer of snow and ice. Dave, our fraternity brother, decided to ignore the arctic conditions and take his girl friend out for a bit of huggy bear and kissy face. Somewhere he made a wrong turn. Without missing a beat – recall that he was singing “Almost There” to her – he put his car in reverse and backed off the road. After some futile attempts to get his car out of the ditch, he went to the closest farm house and called Sam.
Sam immediately rounded up about a dozen guys who knew Dave’s girl friend had to get back to her dormitory before her curfew. As we began piling into the cars, someone thought of a very important question: where was Dave?
Sam didn’t know. He never thought to ask and Dave hadn’t volunteered the information.
We split into three groups and agreed on the first three places we would check. Off we went in three different directions. We figured we had a fifty-fifty chance of finding him. Edinboro State College was in the middle of farm land. There were any number of potato and corn fields, pine forests, and apple groves where a couple of young lovers could go to watch submarine races.
It was both fortunate and extremely bad luck that I was with the group who located Dave. We found him quickly and put his girlfriend in the vehicle we had arrived in; the driver whisked her away to beat the curfew. The rest of us examined the situation and came to a bitter conclusion. Some of us would have to wade into the drainage ditch – about three feet of nearly freezing water – and push the car up while others pulled the car back onto the road surface.
Considering how cold it was – the temperature rarely went above thirty-two degrees Fahrenheit in January, we waited for one of the other cars to find us. At least Dave’s car’s engine could run and we were able to stay warm while we waited. Naturally Dave took a lot of ribbing when he confessed that he was serenading his girl when he backed into the ditch.
Finally, other cars arrived. Somehow I managed to get one of the short straws. Two or three of us went into the water and pushed. Fortunately, it only took the one push. Dave’s car was back on the road and we piled in… soaked from the waste down.
Strange… I’d forgotten all about that incident until I mentioned Dave’s name in a prior post. Perhaps some things are best left forgotten. However, I would like to hear from Dave – or Sam – again. If you know either one of them, tell them I said “Hello!” You might also tell them where I am.