So far, I haven’t seen anybody outside my house dressed like city Gestapo agents checking the walkability of my sidewalks but I can imagine the scene if they did show up.
I open the door. “Yes, Mr. Lund,” the one wearing a monocle says, “are you avare zat zee city assorities have issued orders zat sidewalks must be free uff zee ice by zis time yet yours are not. Explain.” “Well, I figured that since you guys didn’t feel it necessary to clean my street, you really couldn’t expect homeowners to stand out there banging away at the ice on sidewalks..which, technically, you own.”
“Zat is no excuse, Mr. Lund. We haff vays of making you work and belief me zay can be most unpleasant. Is zat vat you vish?” “No sir, no. I’ll get right to it. Please don’t take me off in that big black car of yours.” “Very well..see zat you do or vee will return mitt zee dogs.”
We’ve made it to mid February and soon those howling frigid north winds that’ll flash freeze you on the spot, will be replaced with gentle warm breezes wafting up from the south It will be spring and we can brag about surviving one more Dakota winter.
Every time I used to share that Pollyanna optimism with the Keloland weather doctor, Jay Trobec, he’d point out that March and April are often the snowiest months of the year.
There are, though, a few undeniable signs that our suffering is at an end. Spring training has begun and the engines of NASCAR will soon be roaring to life for the Daytona 500 and the beginning of another racing season.
As most of you know, I love cars and I got to thinking the other day about where my fascination with the automobile first began and then it hit me; my brother, Denny’s go kart that he built when we were kids.
He had somehow procured a pedal-start motor from an old washing machine. (Yes, early washing machines used to be powered by a gasoline engine with a kick start. God I’m old.) Anyway, Denny also found a two by six board for the chassis, a pair of two by fours for the axles and four wheels from a pull wagon; probably from my Radio Flyer that would be worth a fortune today. He managed to bolt the engine down and configure a drive mechanism out of a stick with a pulley attached. He either steered the thing with his feet or a rope tied to the front axle..I don’t recall. But I do remember mom saying “Oh, dear lord” the first time he fired it up and flew down our gravel street in a cloud of dust and burning oil.
But there were times when that old motor wouldn’t fire and I can still see Denny kicking and kicking and sweating and swearing. I learned all the satisfying curses from my brother working on that &^#@$% go kart.
Dad, being a carpenter and wood craftsman, just couldn’t help but get caught up in my brother’s project and, sort of like a father helping his boy scout son build a toy car for the Pinewood Derby, Dad decided to turn Denny’s basic motorized plank into a magnificent example of homemade transportation. He spent hours constructing a hood, fenders and grill for the thing..then painted it British Racing Green.
I believe Denny actually drove it in a Cossack Day parade but he lost interest after getting a driver’s license and a real car. It sat idle in the garage for years and years. Every once in a while, I’d go in and give the pedal a kick hoping that it would miraculously fire up and I could take her for a spin but it never did. I have a hunch mom dumped a cup of sugar in the gas tank.
Well, I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Heck, we’re already off to a terrific start by dodging that killer meteor which provided a close encounter Friday.
Two guys in dark trench coats just pulled up the driveway in a black car with city plates.
“Linda…DO NOT answer that door!”