Ludlow Standoff

by kfrego

Trips from our home in Hinsdale, NH to our hometown in Lyon Mt, NY were made fairly often on weekends and holidays. The two hundred twenty mile trip would average about four and a half hours under normal circumstances. We often took different routes to make the trips more interesting as we traversed the state of Vermont. Traffic was normally light except during ski season in the winter. Linda and I would sip a few beers along the way, eat some snacks, and enjoy the ride. Linda would care for our son Jamie and daughter Dori while I drove. We knew some shortcuts and secondary roads which saved time and took us around traffic in the New England towns of Vermont. Often we would have friends traveling with us to visit their families in New York. The radio was always playing country or popular music depending on what stations we could receive.

On one winter trip we happened upon a situation which still makes a great memory today. It happened on an evening when there was several inches of fresh snow, but it wasn’t sticking to the roads. The highway followed the Black River into Ludlow, Vt. The traffic headed to the ski resorts was moving very slow. The downtown area of Ludlow could be bypassed by taking High St and Dug Rd on the north side of the river. There was seldom any traffic on the side streets and most highway traffic flowed through downtown. About a mile north of town a one lane bridge across the Black River brought you back to the highway. The side streets had a few inches of new snow on them.

We approached the one lane bridge and could see vehicle lights on the bridge. At first we thought it was a minor accident. We stopped close to our end of the bridge. Two cars sat on the bridge facing each other head on. Nobody had any intention of backing off the bridge for the other car. Linda and I found the situation very amusing. So much for our shortcut. One car was a man in his thirties going in our direction. The other car was driven by a little old lady who appeared to be in her sixties or seventies. She was doing pretty good just to be driving, say nothing about trying to back off of that bridge in the dark. We decided to sit a while and see what would happen. Each time the man walked to the side of the lady’s car we could see her scolding and shaking her finger at him. He wasn’t a happy camper either. We sat and enjoyed the show along with a few other cars on each end of the bridge. Finally common sense prevailed and the man backed off the bridge on our side. The little old lady was still chattering and shaking her finger at him. We all gave a toot on our horns and a wave as she passed.

We didn’t know who was wrong……but there was no doubt about who would back up first.