Love and risk - Joel Hall

Men throughout history have done many foolish and crazy things for love.

The United Kingdom's Edward VIII abdicated from the throne in order to marry Bessie Wallis Warfield, the woman he loved. Some believe Vincent van Gogh cut off part of his own ear and presented it to a love interest.

For me, my crazy act of love was driving a 16-foot, moving truck, with a car attached to it, through 800 miles of landscape in the middle of the North American Blizzard of 2009.

For the greater part of three years, I have endured a long-distance relationship. Through a lot of prayer and long-distance phone calls, the relationship between my girlfriend and me has survived, despite her attending law school in Michigan, while I work in Clayton County, Ga.

This being my girlfriend's final academic semester, I finally had the chance to close the distance that has separated us for so long. Before I could do that, however, I had to help transport all of her earthly possessions from Michigan back to her native Georgia.

I am a big fan of adventure and new experiences, but also of minimizing the risks involved as much as possible. Doing the move required a large moving truck, a vehicle I had never driven before, and a tow dolly, an intimidating piece of equipment I had never used before.

There was no time for wavering, however, as many factors arose that forced me to take control of the situation.

The Friday before last -- the day of my girlfriend's last final exam -- was also the day we had scheduled to pick up our moving truck. On that day, the truck arrived an hour-and-a-half late, with no tow dolly and a piece broken off of the truck, which was vital to lighting a tow dolly.

As the problems derailed our original timeline, my girlfriend had to leave to take her last exam and I, alone, had to drive the broken truck and a broken tow dolly from the pick-up site in East Lansing, Mich., to Lansing, Mich., on the Interstate, to a facility where the repairs could be done.

The repairs were the first of my challenges. Resisting the urge to leap from the driver's seat and do a forward roll onto the Interstate below, I somehow managed to get the massive vehicle from the repair facility back to my girlfriend's apartment complex, despite not knowing any of the roads.

Shortly after we began to get items onto the truck, the Blizzard of 2009 began dumping snow, which continued into Saturday, the day we finally got my girlfriend's car on the repaired tow dolly, and got the truck on the road to Georgia.

For two days, making an overnight stop in Kentucky, I drove the 16-foot-truck-tow-dolly contraption over bridges, rivers, and mountains along Interstate 75. I drove through construction sites, truck stops, and sleepy mountain towns, all the while, facing the additional risk factors of snow, visible deer, and holiday traffic.

Despite all the fear involved, however, there is an invigorating and exciting feeling doing something dangerous for someone you love. There are a million nightmare scenarios of how my 800-mile trek from Michigan could have ended, but none of those scenarios occurred and I was able to spend Christmas with my girlfriend without having to worry about taking her back to the airport a few days later.

Love, as do all great things, comes with an element of risk. My truck drive, however, made me realize that love also brings out the best of us, and helps us do things we never believed to be possible.

Joel Hall covers government and politics for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached via e-mail at jhall@news-daily.com.