As we returned to Passo Coe to pick up Young One from her ski lesson in the afternoon, we faced a snow-covered road, uphill.
Years ago Richard made the decision (after encouragement from a neighbor) to switch to snow tires each winter; I've always wondered if it was an unneeded extravagance, but as we were progressing nicely in the mess, I became certain that these were a good investment.
She had an impromptu lesson in "survival skiing." If we made it up, surely we could make it down.
And just as we made if off the most treacherous part of the mountain with everyone safe and warm, just as we were two minutes from our apartment, just as someone in the car boldly claimed, "We made it!" we stalled. We slipped, we slid, we shimmied, we shook. We did not make it. We were not making it. But..we. were.so.close.
But can I tell you?
We kept our cool. We held our shit together, so much that not even one curse word was uttered! Richard patiently took my direction as he tried to back the wagon down the snowy hill. I calmly dodged the other vehicles racing up the hill. (Do you know that trick? The "gun it" trick when navigating snow-covered roads?! Put the pedal to the metal and hold on!)
Richard volunteered to go for help, to brave the unforgiving climate, the snowstorm of the century, to seek out assistance, in whatever form it might arrive.
I stayed with the two children, watching in awe as car after car after car, including MANY Fiat's made it up the hill.
And soon after he left, the Vigili del Fuoco stopped.
Hello, ma'am. Do you have chains?
My husband went to get them.
Does he have the tire size?
Can you put the chains on the car?
We hope so.
We will return.
This is a literal transcript of the conversation. It was, of course, in Italian. This was not a man of many words, this mountain fireman.
People are good. People are kind.
Yes they are.
I know it.