Venturing Out

Baby it is cold outside. The roads are relatively clear while the parking lots are ice covered with little or no relief from the ice coverage accept for narrow paths to the door of the business. Nevertheless I felt compelled to venture out as I had not purchased MJ’s Valentine Day card. Her gift is coming by mail. I wonder how I appear as a large old man who is taking baby steps on the ice and snow? After breaking three ribs a few years ago…I am extremely careful… We had been enjoying a birthday celebration for our niece, Tara, at a Winery near her home in Salem, Illinois. As the food and drink and laughter ensued someone told us that ice had begun to fall outside. When we entered there was no inclement weather. As we quickly left and walked outside we could hear the ice falling. There was a tiny hill to walk down to reach our car. The tiny hill had a light covering of ice on it…and I fell like a sequoia tree…on to my right side. The first thing that I noticed was that I could not breathe. People around me and including the owner of the Winery asked me on multiple occasions if I was alright. I could not answer their questions…I could not breathe. Suddenly I took a gasp of air and croaked out…that I was fine. Two days later I discovered that I had broken three ribs…and was experiencing extremely painful muscle spasms…every minute or so.

During my younger days I feared no snow and ice. My friend Steve and I drove through a blizzard in 1977. We were working for a custodial contract cleaning service and I was determined to reach our account that was on the other side of Johnston City which was more than 20 miles from our homes. I was driving and the view ahead of our vehicle was that of a white sheet…we could see nothing. Finally we slid into a ditch. Steve got out and pushed us out of the ditch and we reluctantly turned around to slowly make our way home.

Another blizzard fell upon Southern Illinois in 1979. I had recently began working at Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale. MJ’s friend, Faye, had heard that SIUC was closed due to the 19 inches of snow that had fallen. When MJ told me…I was fearful that if I stayed home and had somehow misunderstood the parameters of the closing…that I would be counted absent on my new and prized job. So, I began to drive our new 2 door LTD. My journey can be likened to driving through a field…there was no clearly delineated road…I could see the ditches, sometimes, on either side of highway #51. When I arrived at Building Services I could see that our office was darkened with one little night light on. Yet…I walked up to the front door and attempted to open it…but it was locked. One of my colleagues, Elbert, drove up and asked me if we were closed…and I told him that we must be as the office was dark and the door was locked Elbert went to the front door and shook it and proclaimed in a loud voice that, ‘Brooks and Covington were reporting for work!’ Elbert said that I should go home and retrieve my wife and she and I drive back to his home in Desoto and join he and Mrs. Covington for hot chocolate. I thanked my friend and responded that if I was able to safely make it home, which was 15 miles, I would be staying in for the evening

Snow and ice have a chilling affect on our movements. Travel is one of those things that are hard during inclement weather…but often necessary. Much of life is governed by which ‘Hard’ we choose to govern the conduct of life:

‘Marriage is hard. Divorce is hard. Choose your hard.’

‘Obesity is hard. Being fit if hard. Choose your hard.’

‘Being in debt is hard. Being financially disciplined is hard. Choose your hard.’

‘Communication is hard. Not communicating is hard. Choose your hard.’

‘Life will never be easy. It will always be hard. But we can choose our hard. Pick Wisely.’ Unknown

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