Dangerous Donuts


            “Honey, come quick,” I shrieked to my husband, Kevin.” That couple in the car across the road is in trouble.”

            Standing at our picture window of our living room, I clamped both hands over my mouth to keep from sobbing. My heart hammered in fear, a contrast to the serene blanket of snow on the lawn.

            When we relocated from Los Angeles to Paris, Illinois three months earlier to pastor a rural church, we were surprised at the differences in culture. The stores displayed Udder Balm at the checkout counter in place of breath mints. Gas stations sold mulch right alongside the antifreeze. People waved as we passed their tractors on the highway and spoke to us at the farmers’ market, even though we were strangers.

But no kind greeting or wave could’ve prepared us for the harrowing scene taking place before us now. This was culture shock at its worst.

             Careening out of control just fifty yards from our house, the car was a flash of red and silver atop the frosty ground. Our eyes stayed frozen to the window for several seconds, watching the horror unfold. But, what could we do? All of our urban savvy was worthless to this couple, spinning on the snow like a child’s top. I grabbed the only weapon I knew how to use, and bawled out a prayer:

            “Lord, deliver those people,” I shouted. “They need Your help right now, before they die, or flip onto the highway and hurt some…”

            Kevin placed a hand on my arm to interrupt my hysteria.

            “Wait, Jeanette. Look over there, opposite from the car. There’s another one spinning in circles, going the reverse direction. I wonder if they could be doing that on purpose. Do you think it’s some sort of winter game they play around here?”

            Squinting to focus, I realized he was right. The cars faced each other, revolving in opposite directions, like two steel monsters dancing to the music of “Winter Wonderland.” For several minutes they whirled, grinding their tires into the gravel. Picking up speed, their chrome bumpers reflected light from the pristine ground cover. When they’d reduced the snow to a slushy rut, they stopped. Paused. The drivers appeared to sigh in contentment. And off they blazed, leaving us to stare at each other, befuddled.

            The following morning, I worked for several hours before I gathered courage to ask my co-worker what we’d seen the day before. I certainly didn’t want her to discover how dumb we city transplants were. She made it easy for me by reading my thoughts.

            “You live six miles south of town, don’t you? I bet you get a lot of teenagers coming out your way after it snows, doing donuts. It’s safer out there, away from the highway” she explained.

            I shook my head and grinned. “That’s what you call it: donuts?” 
“Yeah,” she chuckled, “young people do it for fun when there’s a good snow. It’s pretty harmless. Just our method of keeping the boredom away during a long winter. I should have warned you about it. If someone from the city saw that for the first time, it might scare the stuffin’ out of them!”

            “Yeah, it just might,” I replied, trying to sound nonchalant. 

            Since that first winter’s excitement eleven years ago, I believe Kevin and I have adjusted well to rural living. We buy our mulch at the Speedy Fuel and say “hello” to people we’ve never met. But, I may never get used to donuts in the snow, rather than my coffee!


  1. Mmmm, donuts... *Drools*

    Though I prefer less rubber on mine. ;)


  2. Every year I do donuts and slides.
    Go to a very large parking lot and swing the vehicle out of control, then get it back in control.
    It is very good practice, better to do on your own so you know how get out of it, then when the slide happens without your help.

  3. Are you sure you weren't hearing "Dueling Banjos"?

  4. Adam: I know, me too! I like chocolate on chocolate with chocolate sprinkles. Would you call that a RUT?

  5. Penguin: I've never slid on purpose in a vehicle; only at the park.

  6. Debbie:
    That would have been an appropriate background!

  7. Wow! You had me going. Thought you were about ready to rush out and do CPR, and here it was just hormonal kids! At least they got prayed over...

    Laughing and waving,


  8. Culture shock big time! LOL. Having lived where it snows regularly in winter I was thinking of children who careen happily down slopes on inner tubes... something people in warmer climes use for water sport.

  9. Hi Jen -

    I would have been as culture shocked as you were! The only kind of donuts we have here are the dunkin' kind. :)


  10. My husband still tells the story of the time when he was in college that they did some kind of parking lot jetskiing. They tied an innertube to the back of a truck and dragged each other around the parking lot. Dangerous? Definitely. But boys feel like they're invincible at that age.

  11. I would have been scared and upset, too. Then when I found out what really happened, I would want to find the teenagers who did it and tell them what bad kids they were to scare me like that. This sounds like a story that is awful to live through but fun to talk about later. Penguin probably has a good idea there, but I'm not brave enough to try it.

  12. LOL. One of my very first dates with my husband-to-be at the time involved him "impressing" me by doing donuts in his Camaro. Sigh. I guess we were rednecks even then!

  13. You had me running over here with the mention of donuts!! LOL
    Your post made me smile, picturing you all worried.

  14. Rhonda: Yes, they got some panic prayers! And we've been laughing ever since.

    Carol: I never could understand the appeal in getting one's backside wet and cold for hours!

    Susan: I am shocked; I thought PA had all kinds of snow sports!

    Steph: I'm so glad I didn't see that one! I'd have new gray hairs for sure.

    Marie: They would have either laughed at me, or wondered what my problem was...

    Niki: And you still married him? I admire your courage, girl!

    Jennifer: Any mention of comfort food hooks most people. I'm glad I made you smile today.

  15. I spent my high school years literally right down the street from Lake Michigan, and we got plenty of snow, but I never had the guts to try a donut. I still hate driving in snow to this day.

  16. Jeanette:
    I can imagine you looking out your window and seeing that for the first time. This is not something we do in my town, that I know of. But then, we do live in town. People do have to find a way to overcome the winter 'blahs' but I don't think I want to be around when they do doughnuts in the snow. Doughnuts belong in milk, hot chocolate or hot tea.


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