I was driving to the train station in Harvard, Illinois. It was New Years Day and a good friend of mine was coming up to visit. I was driving down the winding, country roads in my Jeep Cherokee. My mind was drifting about the past week I had spent in Lake Geneva. Though, I should have been paying closer attention to the roads.
Harvard has an almost magical feel about it. The storefronts have not changed in fifty years and neither have the people. The sky was pitch black now as I saw my friend’s train come rolling in. Once she got into my car we took the back way out of Harvard so we wouldn’t have to wait. I have probably taken the shortcut out of Harvard about twenty times but, I would remember this particular trip forever.
Since it was the beginning of January in northern Illinois everything was dark and snow-covered. At some point I guess I missed the turn that leads back to the main highway. It is very easy to miss a turn around there since all cornfields tend to look the same. Around this point I realized that I was very low on gas and unfortunately on New Years Day most gas stations closed early and it was now almost ten o’clock. Then, I started to get worried.
I kept searching for a turn off the main road, but none looked promising. After driving down this road for about a half hour I spotted two men pulled over on the side of the road. I asked how to get to Lake Geneva and the man informed that I was heading in the wrong direction. I had to go all the way back to Stateline Road and that would take me back to 14. At this point I became very frustrated, not only had I gone in the wrong direction but I wasted the very valuable gas.
After what seemed like forever I made it back to Stateline Road. This road, like many roads in the area, was not plowed or salted. My gas tank was as low as it could go and there wasn’t a station in sight. All of a sudden I hit a drift of ice and my car began sliding in a deep ditch. I tried hard to turn out of the slid but I overcompensated. So, we slid off the road on the opposite side, barely missing a telephone pole. Luckily, we were both okay but, my car was not.
That night it was freezing cold and the only light came form the stars. I had a shovel in the back of my car and began digging but, it was no use. We were freezing in the dark alone. I began having a panic attack but, my friend grabbed me and dragged me in the direction of the nearest house. After failing to be let into the first house, the second welcomed us.