The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

February 11, 2013

Dealing with West Virginia driveway woes

Home to the Hills

By Ricky Pack

— Talk about scary, I’ve about had enough with that driveway of mine. If it isn’t slipping over the hill and almost sliding into the neighbor’s house, twice, then it has to be almost rolling sideways off my driveway into the creek. My heart can’t take much more of this! I have to do something to fix both sides, changing danger into safety.

My driveway is at least 45 degrees straight up and down. It is one steep son of a highway I tell you. Coming off Big Creek, it is a switch back that rolls completely behind you. There is a cul-de-sac at the end of the road about the length of a football field from my driveway.

Being bigger than life and a mountain of a man, at least in my own mind and those of a couple of my grandchildren, I believe making a right turn then backing up, then realigning myself, then finally driving head first is the right way to go down my driveway. Actually, it is more like “Rick’s way to go.” You know the old saying, “There’s the right way, the wrong way, and then there’s Rick’s way.”

Well “Rick’s way” has gotten me into plenty of bad predicaments. I have to admit the stress level is considerably less using the cul-de-sac. I drive a four-wheel drive Dodge Ram 1500 5-speed, easy to get into trouble with, but not so easy to get out of trouble with.

One Saturday afternoon I was going to just make a right turn into my driveway, make all of those maneuvers; cut my time from having to go all the way down to the end of the road. Disaster was waiting for me, with a big grin on her face.

I made the right. It wasn’t long before I felt like everything was going wrong, so I stepped hard on my brakes. I took a look around and my front wheels were over the edge, about three-fourths of my cab was too. Knowing I was in trouble, I called for my best friend, the best a guy could ever have.

His wife answered and I said, “Pat, is John home?”

“Yes he is,” she said, “let me get him for you.”

I screamed, “Pat, tell him this is an emergency. I’m getting ready to roll over the cliff right through Scotty’s house!”

It was but two minutes and John had four guys and a Ford 250 4x4 pulling up. They managed to hook on to me and jerked me from the jaws of doom. Man, did those four guys give it to me good. I swore I was never going to make a right turn there again.

Well, Tuesday came around, I was in a rush, and I decided the right turn would be the quickest. After all, I have made that turn almost every day for six years. This time, just over the cliff lurked disaster and with her, her master pandemonium, who is a close sister to death.

This time it was muddy, I slipped, but knew instantly that I was over my head in danger. I was running through scenarios over and over in my mind. Cut the wheels hard right and hope to hit the apple tree. Maybe brake hard, turn the wheels hard to the right and try to get it to roll. I figured on resistance to slow me down before I hit the house. I even worked it out that if I didn’t brake I could slam into the poplar trees at the creek.

Just then I heard a man holler, “Ricky, don’t do nothing, hold those brakes, don’t do anything.”

I looked into my rear view mirror and my bumper was six feet in the air. That would mean my rear tires were completely off the pavement. I could imagine one of Satan’s minions back there puffing up to blow me over the edge.

In no time that Chevy and four other guys showed up and pulled me out of the clutches of death.

One of the guys was the father of the fellow who lived in the house I was fixing to make into a pile of sticks. All four of the men chewed on a piece of my butt and told me that I was never going to make a right there again.

Then last night coming home from shopping I drove to the cul-de-sac, drove down the driveway and then almost rolled over the hill sideways into the creek. I was already at the bottom of my driveway. I called John, he had me make some fancy maneuvers and that disaster was averted.

(Pack may be contacted at Letters to the editor regarding his column may be e-mailed to