Dangerous Drives

This week’s news of Tiger Woods’ SUV veering off the road down a slope on a curving road brought some memories of dangerous drives. More than a decade ago I took up a job that was based in Dubuque, IA. The place of work was about 90 miles from my home in Madison. While driving back and forth everyday was possible it would have taken ~ 3 hours or more of commute time everyday and during winter even more. The workplace was in downtown Dubuque, which is a nice little town in Iowa. There were quite a bit of out-of-towners who had joined and some of us probably added some color to otherwise lily-white Iowa 😀 Dubuque is just on the other side of the mighty Mississippi river driving in from Wisconsin. It’s got colleges and there is some mining history too. Main tourist attraction though is around Mississippi river and National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium is a cool place. There is one casino around and a few more in the vicinity. Driving between Madison and Dubuque everyday would have required quite a bit of concentration and with me working long hours preferred to stay in a Bed and Breakfast (B&B) place in Dubuque during weekdays, driving in on Monday and driving back home Friday evening.

The B&B I was staying in was on top of a bluff with a cool view 😎 of the river at some distance and other places around. I had joined in spring which is among the better times of year, in terms of weather, around these parts. With office being in downtown and no office parking available my daily routine was driving in from B&B, parking car at a public parking garage and then walking couple of blocks to workplace. Steps repeated in reverse in the evening. Of course on Monday morning would drive in from home to parking garage and on Friday evening drive from parking garage to home, come hell or high weather! The shortest route (through 3rd street) from B&B to public parking space and back is quite steep. During warm weather the somewhat floating feel while driving down to parking space was amusing. Came winter and the routine joy of driving turned into a scare, on snowy days especially. Each day my heart used to be in my mouth as I drove down to work and drive back to B&B literally required stepping on the gas 😊 Used to drive to work with prayer on my lips everyday, even God might have been gotten a bit tired of me 😂 (It did my confidence no good that during the 2 years I stayed in this B&B my car hit a patch of black ice and skid off the highway while driving in from Madison on a particularly bad weather Monday morning, about 20 miles from Dubuque). 👎 There was another route to work through 5th street but that was even steeper with added bonus of the road curving for more driving fun. 😂 Suffice it to say the joy of rolling down the windows and driving the freeway on a clear, sunny day evaporated fully by the time winter came calling. 😢Upon learning about Tiger Woods’ unfortunate car accident I googled Dubuque steep roads and sure enough 3rd street and 5th street figured at or near the top of “10 streets you’d rather not have to drive in winter” under “Dubuque’s Most Treacherous Hills” in a local newspaper ( https://www.telegraphherald.com/…/article_67339e4c-d321… ). I guess driving from or to a place at an elevation with view comes with a price when driving conditions are not good. Consider myself lucky for escaping without an injury for the 2 years of heart stopping driving moments during winter. Tiger wasn’t lucky, hopefully he recovers fully quickly 🙏

Cookie Points!


Living in Wisconsin means snow in winter is a given! There are some fringe benefits though. For example, you can earn cookie points. Lost? Let me explain!

When I blow snow from my driveway and sidewalk I clear snow for my next door neighbor too. My reasoning is simple: I get some physical exercise and if I can get undue credit for snow blower doing the hard work, why not? 😉 Neighbor is a good person and feels guilty I do it for free. So, sometimes I get paid in kind. Neighbor knows I have sweet tooth and offers to make home-baked cookies for me in return. Of course it’s an offer I can’t refuse. Who says no to fresh, home-baked cookies, right? 😄

Couple of weeks ago I cleared snow and got a choice of 2 types of cookies: Peanut butter cookie with a little chocolate on top OR Chocolate chip cookies. Greedy me wanted to say “Make it a double order, I will have them both” 😂 but sometimes even I feel shame. 😢 So, I asked my son what he would prefer. With a rueful look he replied “I will adjust with chocolate chip cookies” . I was enraged. 😡 No, not for any good reason. I immediately shot back in mock rage “Hey, that’s my line!” à la that Seinfeld series episode where the main characters utter that line in a humorous way. 😊 Three dozen fresh, home-baked cookies were ready for dad and son to tuck teeth into by the time snow was cleared!

Today I was offered some more fresh, home-baked cookies as reward for clearing the snow. We still have some cookies left that we got as reward for our previous effort. Even though it was heartbreaking to say no I politely declined the offer and took a rain check instead. With the temps below freezing all week and for the next few days and a cup of joe always welcome in such weather the twisted side of me felt tempted to encourage the neighbor to become a barista. Another opportunity for neighbor to creatively express food and beverage art, what say? 🤣 Ultimately I convinced myself not to push my luck too far and be satisfied with cookies rain check.

Bottom line: My simple ambition in life is to do one good deed a day and crack one good joke a day. 🙏
Snowfall sometimes helps with the deed part. 👍
As for good joke, I still have some ways to go 😆

Climate change

Clear, blue western skies
Turned crimson red, burning with rage; 😡
Trees that normally sustain,
Fallen victims of human disdain; 😭
Charred remains of places of shelter,
Ere homes that had seen times better; 😭
The Rockies turned white with fear,
Freezing to attention;
The Midwest shed silent tears, 😢
Weeping all week, emerging soaking wet;
Witnessing effects of climate change,
Will human behavior change? 🙏

Arctic chill

Caught in the vortex of an arctic chill
Everything appears frozen and still!
Chance of stepping out in shorts is practically nil
Dressing in layers has become a daily drill!

I asked my good friend Bill
“Is there hope for a warm Spring still”?
Staring at the sky he said “Look forward to more spill”
All talk of warm weather is rumor mill!

Can someone either give me a chill pill
Or reveal secret to keep down the heating bill?
Hope for something better springs eternal still
Wish I could change the weather at will! 🙂