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Wed., Dec. 18, 2013, 6 a.m.

Traffic Hell

After spending 7 hours on the freeway, travelling 60 miles, I walked through our front door claiming I felt like Goldie Hawn’s character in “Overboard.” Hawn spends hours with a chain saw in hand and later sits in a semi-catatonic state muttering, “ba-ba-ba-ba-.” And I wasn’t even driving.

The fatal accident left a semi-truck driver dead and another person hospitalized. Fiery vehicles and strewn debris closed all but one lane for over 10 hours.  As my friend and I inched down the road, we talked and talked about work, holidays, friends, other drivers.  We called our friends who left a few minutes before us, asking for their location.  

An hour later we checked in again. “I have calculated that we have traveled 40 yards per minute in the last hour,” said Mark. So had we.

My favorite observation was one driver next to us. She was crocheting. I think by the time she hit Olympia she must have crocheted a complete sweater. Seven hours’ worth of crocheting could yield quite a garment.

My driving friend remained calm – “what else can we do?” -  and soon we were singing with the Christmas carols on the radio. Reminiscing about friends, now gone.

The experience seems on object lesson for the season:  keep all in perspective, give in when nothing can be changed, enjoy the moments, chat with friends and be grateful for what is. We were grateful – eventually we arrived home, But for one family, the traffic nightmare will remain. One family lost a loved one.  A driver who was simply doing his job, driving a truck, did not arrive home last night and will not be home for Christmas.

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Spokesman-Review features writer Rebecca Nappi, along with writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., discuss here issues facing aging boomers, seniors and those experiencing serious illness, dying, death and other forms of loss.