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LETTER: Thankful for vaccine and driving lessons

February 17, 2021 at 5:24 a.m.

Neither rain nor snow nor ice would keep my brother John Starkey and I from our second covid-19 shot on Feb. 10 in Bentonville.

I was ready for the ice that covered our Bella Vista Streets because I had salt to treat my driveway and because I had driving lessons from a Bella Vista police detective -- Detective Ed Williams.

I sprinkled 1 and a half containers of salt stuff on my driveway. I threw the remaining half-filled container into my car and headed out to pick up my brother John.

I remembered the driving lessons Detective Williams taught me, I kept my foot light on the gas or brake pedals and both of my hands steady on the steering wheel. Most of the time, instead of pushing the brake pedal, I lifted my foot off the gas pedal to slow down. When I reached the steep hill by Loch Lomond Park, I had to use the brake but I pushed it gently and slowly descended the hill.

I made it to my brother's house in 20 minutes, usually a 10-minute drive. His street was covered in black ice. Williams' instructions kept running through my head as I parked behind my brother's car.

But now, I was facing another huge problem. The sidewalk to my brother's home was ice-covered. I had to clear that ice so my brother could use his cane to walk to my car. I started sprinkling the salt treatment on the sidewalk, but I ran out before I got to his door. I just walked on the frozen grass and told him to do the same and follow me.

When he and I got in my car, I breathed in and out slowly for a minute to gather my wits for the next stretch of the trip -- 17.5 miles to the hospital. The roads were much better. But I still kept in mind to have steady hands and a light touch.

When I got to the hospital, I dropped John in front of the doors. It wasn't quite 10:30 a.m. and our appointment wasn't until 11:30 a.m.

Then, I parked and walked toward the doors. I used the street instead of the sidewalk because a good samaritan hollered at me. She said the sidewalks were slick. She had seen people slipping and sliding on them. I listened to her voice of experience and made it to the hospital doors.

We got our shots. We both desperately wanted that second dose of vaccine. My brother has several major health problems and I'm 77 years old.

We were so relieved. So happy.

I have extra salt treatment in my car. I will always have some on hand. What a lifesaver.

But -- I'm the most thankful for the driving lessons Detective Williams gave me.

Thank you so much. You were with me the whole way going and coming from my covid-19 shot.

Andra Atteberry

Bella Vista

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