Four-wheel drive and a healthy sense of adventure

My parents came into town this weekend and found themselves in for a surprise when they, like many others in southern Arkansas, found themselves snowed in and thoroughly unprepared.

Convenience stores were overrun starting Friday night (as we knew they would be when the word “snow” was first exhaled in hushed tones) as panicked El Dorado residents vied for everything from milk and bread to windshield wipers and standalone heaters. Grocery carts were overloaded, customers elbowed others for the last jug of orange juice and frazzled clerks checked items as quickly as humanly possible.

From all vectors of law enforcement we keep hearing about weather-related car accidents from yesterday. Our thoughts are with the family of Kellee Murphree, a Junction City resident, who was killed in a wreck Sunday afternoon on her way to Little Rock for job training. Murphree was well-known in El Dorado for the 14 years she worked as the secretary for former Union County Sheriff Ken Jones. See tomorrow’s edition of the News-Times for more details.

Even my four-wheel drive vehicle had some trouble with the icy conditions, slipping, sliding and gliding all the way to and from my parents’ hotel — on occasion laughing and other times yelping and I attempted to avoid hitting poles, curbs or pockets of melted slush.

The list of closed schools and businesses continues to steadily increase and even the News-Times is looking at early deadlines to get people out of here before nightfall.

What a weekend for my poor parents to visit. Arizonans in the keenest sense of the word (I still consider myself included in this grouping) and completely shocked when temperatures from the 60s and 70s last week plummeted to the 20s and 30s this weekend. Sunday also marked the first time I have ever encountered sleet and the first instance of watching snowfall which was beautiful but only from the inside of my toasty apartment.

Here’s hoping the trip made a good impression on my dad (it was his first to El Dorado) and safe driving to everyone else willing to brave the roads out there today.

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