Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Blowing the Snow and Stiring the Soup [Exclusive]

Today is one of those days where the weather will actually entice you into thinking “you know, the weather up here just doesn’t get that bad.” Boys, this isn’t Alabama. It’s going to get cold. Just take a quick trip down to any of the big box hardware stores and they have a full line-up of snow blowers with every option imaginable. Try finding that in Alabama. Being my third winter I guess I may have to give in and make my selection. The shovel is getting old. It just took a couple of years to convince this old Alabama boy that the snow is coming. Back home if we got an inch of snow it was time to shut everything down. Up here, an inch is snow is what you might get on a cool October day. So this year you may just find me with an electric start snow churning monster. I don’t think I’ll go for the headlight option.

But don’t get me totally wrong. We had some interesting days back home. I grew up in the corner of Alabama near the Tennessee and Mississippi state lines. I can remember the days where you could get a quick twenty dollars by helping a truck get up what will called state line hill down at the Mississippi line. Now the states have upgraded the main highway and smoothed out the “ups and down” so I assume that activity fled with all the other memories.

Now we did have some interesting boys in the high school where I grew up who did some things that were always entertaining. Such as the time one of the boys decided to see what happens when you floor the accelerator and then drop the automatic transmission quickly from park to drive. Hint: don’t try this at home. One night my friend and I were out wandering around in the 1966 CJ5 that Dad let me drive. We were only about 10 miles from the nearest point of civilization when we decided to turn around and go back home. I was driving and my friend was watching because we were near a field and it was hard to see how to turn around at night. He says whoa which I interpreted as go. There we sat straddle of a ditch with only a prayer to get us out. Luckily we both worked on a farm and we were able to finally lift the Jeep across the ditch without major injuries.

Now you may be asking why I just shared that Jeep story knowing my Dad will see it. Don’t worry, I can tell some that included him even if his events were unintentional. I will say nothing more than if I tell you the brakes don’t work then they probably don’t work. Thank God that pine tree was big enough to hold back the Jeep. (My daughter just got her driver’s permit and I ‘m sharing these stories. What am I thinking?)

With that story I just have one last thing to share. I got a couple of e-mails from some old friends down in another state where I used to live. It seems somebody is confused and it is interesting what is happening down there. Did you ever notice how there is always somebody trying to stir the pot? I guess there are still a lot of people who have what we called the banty rooster syndrome when I was back home in Alabama. No you won’t find “banty” rooster in the dictionary. But the fine folks at help explain that banty was actually short for bantam. According to my other resource,, “Bantam is the name given to any small fowl but most commonly small types of chickens.” So, if we labeled you a banty rooster it usually meant you liked to bully people to make up for your small stature or weakness. Well, recently I got some e-mails pointing to one of these types who used an open forum to raise their stature by lowering the stature of others. Since I like to keep things upbeat I am not going to point this situation out directly, but if you look around you will see what I mean. My advice, you can either lift yourself up by bettering yourself or, better yet, lift up enough people around you and it will lift you as well. Chopping the trees around you to make your tree taller might just kill enough of the forest to take your tree and you along with it. Be a good neighbor this week and try to lift someone up. That is the better way to stir the pot. The splash you get will be “soup for the soul” rather than that other stuff.