My heart goes out to all those affected by weather in the recent weeks around our great nation. Meanwhile, here in Iowa, December 2021 was one for the record books.
We’ve had temperatures spanning from the 70s to below zero, derecho winds of 70 plus mph, which included an outbreak of 42 tornados, the most ever on record for one day in Iowa.
In addition, there has been humid spring like days, rain, hail, thunder, lightning, sleet, freezing rain, snow, cold and about every other weather phenomenon known to man.
Since moving to Iowa 24-years ago, I have enjoyed (tolerated) my share of winter weather. I remember being interviewed for the editor job at North English. When asked what one of my biggest concerns was, I said the winter weather. It hasn’t disappointed me either with piles of snow, ice, wind and blasted cold.
I remember the time I drove from North English, where I lived at the time, to Princeton, Ill., to visit a friend. On my way home, I stopped at a Davenport convenience store to top off my tank. I picked up a Sunday paper and the fellow behind the counter cautioned me to be careful on my drive home.
Being a southern boy, I didn’t pay much attention to the weather but soon wished I had. As I rolled along I-80 west, I ran head on into an Iowa storm front of blowing snow and icy roads.
I was driving my Chevrolet S-10 pickup with a camper shell and no extra weight in the back for traction. It had to be the grace of God that I got home without sliding into the ditch, which was littered with vehicles and trucks, or hitting another driver. By the time I reached West Branch, where I stopped for a restroom break at the local McDonalds, I was literally shaking and my hands had imprints of the steering wheel on them from gripping it while driving. I’m surprised I didn’t pull the steering wheel right out of the dash.
It was a two-for-two during Thanksgiving weekend 2007. I wanted to spend the holiday with family in Oklahoma that year. It was Thanksgiving eve and the weather south of Montezuma wasn’t looking good.
I was insistent on leaving that night while Debbie explained to me about the weather front moving across the state. I paid no mind and we headed south, only to run head long into a storm front just outside of Ottumwa. It was snowing so hard that I couldn’t see much past my headlights.
Anyway, we stopped for the night in Macon, Mo. I should have stayed home and left on Thanksgiving day. And that wasn’t the half of it. We got ready to leave on Sunday from Oklahoma. Debbie had been keeping an eye on the weather, cautioning me that it was in our best interest to stay another day.
Well, in true stubborn J.O. fashion, we left and hit a snow storm in northeast Oklahoma and into Missouri. By the time we hit Joplin, Debbie was encouraging me to stop for the night. I was going to try and make it to Kansas City.
We finally pulled over for the night in Nevada, Mo. on Highway 71, after watching a truck fly past us and slide off the road into a farm field and spin around a half dozen times.
I’ve hit four deer since moving to Iowa, but thankful I haven’t been in any serious weather-related accidents, outside of sliding in the ditch a few times in my own driveway and getting stuck while trying to get my mail.
I’m just thankful for my wife and that God has kept me safe and not sorry all these years. My advice to every man, listen to your wife. She is full of wisdom and much understanding.
A New Year is upon us and I’m sure, like 2020 and 2021, the news will be filled with lots of untruths, rubbish and folks trying to tell you how to live your life.
My advice for the New Year is to stick to your beliefs. America is still home to the free and the land of the brave. Pay no mind to the naysayers who offer ever-changing advice. Do what is best for you and your family. Have no regrets, live life to the fullest, don’t sweat the small stuff, dream big and go after your dreams. And most importantly, keep your hands to the plow and don’t look back.
Happy New Year everyone!
Have a great week and always remember that “Good Things are Happening,” every day and always.