Monday, March 15, 2010

The thrill of survival

Midwest Producer

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I've been watching the Olympics in Canada. Watching the curling events to be a bit more precise. I felt like I needed to sit down and type a while and let my nerves unwind from the excitement. I've never understood why I am not a big fan of these Winter Games but I suspect that it has partly to do with the fact that I'm from Nebraska - where the greatest winter opportunities are to brag about how far south you went on your winter vacation or how you survived that fall on the ice last week. But it hasn't fazed your thinking a bit. You still want to live here.
And you're here partly because of your strong will and belief system. The basic tenet that life shouldn't be too easy. Remember, this is building character. Surviving here will put hair on your chest.
The Winter Games are a combination of grace, strength, beautiful lifts and moves, and the hope that gravity will somehow take over so they can get those skis back on the snow and make that next turn going 70 miles per hour. Just like living in Kansas and Nebraska in the winter, success in the Olympics is sometimes measured in mere survival. Just try to be the only one who didn't land in a twisted pile of humanity and you'll be the winner.
Opportunities to improve our character have come in many forms this winter. We've had several power outages. Mostly they were brief, but one lasted into the next day. Not bad by most accounts and ice storms standards. We've had copious amounts of snow fall and freezing rain. The locals have pushed it, scooped it, thrown sand on it, spread salt on it and even blown it up into the wind by mechanical means just to give the neighbors more character building opportunities. The season has elevated our snowplow operators and electric company lineman to legendary status. It has closed schools and postponed a great number of games, concerts and social events.
We live where hope springs eternal in the hearts of all Midwesterners. We know that if we persevere, that if we can somehow just "wear this winter out," spring is right around the corner with its warmer temperatures, muddy roads and flooding. The adversity will be there but we won't need to wear so darned many clothes while we face it. By then we'll be thinking about planting, raising crops and killing weeds and we'll have the comfort of knowing that last winter was about as bad as it could have been and next winter will be better. At least we can hope.
But through it all, we must survive. We find entertainment where we can. It might consist of a diversion at the local schools with their games and concerts, or going out to eat on occasion if we think we can get home before the wind blows the road closed again or we stay home, invite the neighbors over and watch television. That's when we realize that even though the satellite serves up 200 or 300 channels, there's really nothing to watch. Two nights ago I narrowed the choices down to the Winter Olympics or an infomercial called "Get the Body You Deserve." Since I already had the latter… I watched the games.
Wow! How does sweeping make that curling stone move like that and should I start carrying a broom in the truck for my wife to use when we're trying to stop on ice?
It really has been a long winter.


Ralph said...

When someone can take the sport of curling, turn it into an amazing article, and then close the circle on the story I am impressed. I have to sit here, nod my head, and admit, "Yes, he does have that whole word thing going for him".

Marc said...

Well Cliff, Today is my Birthday.

And here the trees are budding out and/or blooming. My alergies are up too.

My Banana grove has all of the dead leafs trimmed off and new growth has started. It is 75 outside. I think I will avoid the survival struggle and stay put here.

It looks like our rice farmers are working the soil, turning last year's chaff under, and getting things level again. Then come the berms to hold the water. They will probably plant next week.

Happy Ides of March.


EV said...

You do have the word-smithing magic down.

The Winter Olympics were amazing; 37 medals! You don't think that will trigger another apology tour, do you?

Paul Nichols said...

Cliff, did you just say Mighty Mo? Funny, the local worriers are terrified that the end of the world is nigh, just cuz the Mighty Mo is about to flood--again.

Anyway, that was a magnificent post.

Cliff said...

Paul, we're only about 80 miles past the last dam on the Missouri so we haven't flooded since it was installed in the 50's. You're too far south.

Shannon said...

This was good Cliff, I raise my coffee cup to you!
P.S. We have gotten the flip flops out already, lol.
I really don't know how you stand the white stuff, we had sooooo much of it here, normally we get it once and that is enough for this Southern Girl. Multiple times, several days a week was a little more than I could bear. :)

Lanny said...

Nicely done, pondering the wild sport of curling that is. Hear tell that winters there may put the hair on your chest but the summers make you want to shave it off. But that's just what a weather weanie from Washington heard.

Have you met spring yet?

Peter said...

Just try to be the only one who didn't land in a twisted pile of humanity and you'll be the winner.

I hope this wasn't a sly shot at Aussie Stephen Bradbury Cliff.... OK I didn't think so!!!
Hair on your chest or not, you can keep your winter climate for mine.

Jim said...

Yes, Cliff, Spring is almost here! It comes this Saturday.
I meant to post some golfing pictures. We treated the youth of our church to a scramble with us while you were posting this yesterday. Our team came in second with a nice nine-over 63, the winners had a 62.
And like Shanon, I bought a new pair of flip-flops last week.

Happy St. Patrick's Day! I'll post a few golfing pictures for you maybe Saturday or Friday.

Gel said...

Hi Cliffers,
So glad you found me again! Man, I have nothing to complain about for our record snow, since it's normal for you year after year. I don't watch those "non-sports" like curling. However, I do enjoy seeing the ice dancers. Gem and I LOVE to dance, as you may remember, but we don't move like that on ice, unless you count my famous "butt-slide."

Oh, if you're really lacking for entertainment, I did post the beginning to a humorous tale...)

Thinking of you and yours,

Gel said...

Oh, and I was raised to think it's "Spinach" that puts hair on your chest (like Popeye...)

Lee said...

I feel my toes curling when I watch the curling events! Excitement personified! My nails get bitten to the core! Too much for my fragile nerves!

I did watch most of the Winter Olympics and loved it. Those competitors (exclusive of the curlers (?)) really do put their lives on the line. I found it all so great to watch and was a bit disappointed when it was over.

Rachel said...

Well written Cliff! I didn't watch much of the Olympics, but I admire those who work so hard to accomplish their goals.

I had to laugh when you said you already had the body you deserve!

JunieRose2005 said...


Can't remember when I've enjoyed reading a blog post more!

Hope your spring comes soon!


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