Clergy Clatter

It’s been a few years since we’ve have any significant snow around here, but we got a pretty good one last weekend. Max was not happy with it, since it was well up over his belly on my decks, which meant he had to sort of swim through it. This last snow reminded me of how beautiful it is, and what a pain in the neck it can be. With church closed due to COVID guidelines, I was able to stay home and just watch it settle in the marsh behind my house, and on the trees and bushes around my house. It was really beautiful.

But strangely, it brought back a dreaded memory that I hadn’t recalled in many years – tire chains. Now, if you’re young, you probably have no idea what I’m talking about, so let me tell you. When I was in high school and college, we had to put chains on our tires so we could navigate in the snow. I recall much more snow back in the 50s and 60s, and I guess our tires were not as good at plowing through the stuff as modern tires. So in the trunks of our cars, we all had a bag of tire chains. And they would get tangled up, and dirty, and the clips wouldn’t fasten just right. They weren’t much help on ice, but they would get you through snow. So – if it snowed during the night, the routine was that you got up early, shoveled about five feet of clear space behind each rear tire, laid the chains out, extending from the tire, started the car, and backed up about ½ way over the chains. You would then pull the two ends together around the tire, try to get the clips to lock, and drive off. Sound easy? It never worked right. 

They were outrageously noisy, gave a horrible ride, would tear a tire to shreds if you left them on too long, and they helped tear up the roads. But they did get you there, and usually prevented a wreck. All was not bad. 

If my memory serves me right, lager cities, like Washington DC, would put public service announcements on with the weather stating that vehicles without snow chains were prohibited on the streets. You’d get a ticket if you didn’t have your chains on. 

Well, what happened to snow chains? They came out with “studded tires.” These had some kind of “stud” drilled into them. They apparently worked, but tore the roads up and they were very expensive. Some folks had winter tires and summer tires, and they would drive to the tire service center and have their tires changed, as needed. Snow tires had huge treads and made a unique sound – sort of a loud whine. The introduction of radial tires probably helped, but tire design just improved greatly, and with all season tires now, we will hopefully never need chains again. 

What does this have to do with church, and God, and religion? Every once in a while we have little blessings come into our lives. They aren’t particularly religious, but our lives become easier and more rewarding. I think those are religious moments, too. 

Richard +

February1, 2022


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A compilation of The Rev. Richard O. Bridgford’s most memorable articles from his nearly 25 years at Church of the Epiphany. Enjoy history, humor, nature, travel, and wacky experiences with Fr. Bridgford, his two-legged and four-legged friends! Recall:

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