Friday, February 22, 2013


Thursday morning we woke up early to check on the big storm that was to arrive . At 6am almost on the dot, the snow began falling. I told my wife that I was going to get an early start so I could get to work before the snow had a chance to accumulate.

"Don't go" she said. "Nobody is going to come out on a day like this." Naturally I didn't listen to her and started out. I thought to myself that if I stayed on the main streets I would be OK. By the time I left our apartment complex it was snowing so hard you couldn't see beyond 20 feet in front of you and  the streets had not been spread with salt so driving was already a little slick.

But I thought that if I drove carefully and kept a safe distance between me and the car in front, I would be alright. What I should have done after traveling about a mile, was to turn around but no, I was going to work.

I continued down Metcalf Ave, heading North and traffic was moving slow but steady. Traffic started bunching up about 79th street where there is about a 10 or 15% incline. I hoped I would make it before the light changed but it was not to be. The car in front of me stopped for the light and so did I. That started a morning of Hell. I slipped and spun, put it in reverse, tried everything, but could not make it up that last 15'. Cars were going all around me as I slowly backed up to the last street where I might be able to get a footing.

As I backed down I noticed in my mirror that some of the cars in my same predicament were making a U turn into the southbound lane. The snow by then was coming down at 3" per hour and it was getting very bad. I was able to make the U turn and headed back towards a street where I could turn East and hopefully get to Antioch the next major street.

I was doing great when in front of me was a beast of a hill. If I stopped or hesitated, even for a moment, I knew I was a goner. I put my foot to the pedal and started up the hill only to come up on a man backing out of his driveway. Rather than have an accident, I stopped, and again I was stuck.

Just then, a man by the name of Chris Carter, I hope he doesn't mind if I use his name but he was the first of four angels I encountered that morning. He stopped his truck, walked up to my car and asked how he could help. He first offered to drive me to work when he saw the logo on my jacket. He told me that is cousin also worked there. There was no place to park but right where I was, and that was not a good idea. He had me back down as far as I could go and then physically pushed me with his hands until I was able to get a footing.

I turned into a south street heading back home since it became senseless to keep on trying the impossible. I got as far as 95th St. and got stuck again but who was beside me knocking on my window, but Chris. He had followed me to make sure I would make it. By that time, my windshield wipers had frozen and would not work. I got out of the car to break away the ice that had formed even tho my defrosters were on high. I jumped back in the car as soon as they started working and again Chris with the help of another man helped push me onto 95th. I thanked him again for being such a wonderful guy.

I headed East toward Metcalf and about a 1/2 block before I got there I saw a line of cars stalled on the slight hill and I joined them, I had no place to go.  An Overland Park Street Dept. truck stopped to help me. The drivers name was Deshon. He told me to wait a moment so he could pass in front of me and try to clear enough of a path for my tires to catch. He not only cleared the street for all of us waiting to get over the hump but came back and pushed me with his hands until I was able to get going. So far this morning I had experienced unbelievable help from complete strangers, I was truly touched.

I was almost to the corner of Metcalf and saw that people were getting out of their cars to help the stalled cars, I pulled my old body from the seat and joined them. They were helping me, I had to do my share. I helped to push about four vehicles before my turn came up.

I returned to my car and they got me as far as the light so I could get over the hill and head South, which I did, until I again had to stop for a light and again got stuck. This time, a young man pulls his truck up to my car and offers to help. I told him that I would pay for his help, he answered, "Not necessary." As I got going I slipped a rolled up bill into his coveralls.

My next encounter was at College and Metcalf, I was making progress but again, the car in front of me stopped and bingo, I was stuck again. To try and end this adventure I'll try and speed up the conclusion. Two Overland Park Policemen came up to my window and instructed me on what to do AS THEY PUSHED ME, to get me going. Phew, I said to myself, I just can't believe these people, all these Samaritans, everyone helping everyone. I got stopped one more time before getting home and again two OP Police Officers pushed me back into a lane.

I finally turned into my apartment complex after being on the road five hours, it was already noon as I pulled into my drive and got stuck, but that's where the car stayed all night.

I want to thank all  those very nice people that not only were there to help me but all of those that needed assistance that morning.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


About six months ago I needed a fast lunch so I went to the closest McDonald's and got into the drive thru lane.

I was behind one of those old big Lincoln Continentals that had an older couple occupying the two front seats. I was pretty sure of their age group because all I could see were hands on top of the steering wheel but no heads.

They had pulled up to the trash container that has a long snout pointing toward the customers car window. I watched as the elderly lady driving, leaned out the window and was screaming into the opening of the trash container giving her order.

I started laughing uncontrollably while this "you tube" moment was happening in front of me. I was about to get out of the car to explain that she had to move up to the speakers. Before I could exit my car, her passenger car opened and I presume, her husband, walked around the back of the car to hopefully help his wife. This created another non stop laughing  jag that I was unable to control. I was afraid that I would have a wet spot in my seat at any moment. He was screaming even louder and when no answer was forthcoming, he started yelling into the opening. "Are you closed, is there anybody willing to help us?"

I was finally able to stop laughing enough to get out of my car and try to help. People behind me were honking and screaming to get out of line. As I gave that person the finger while still trying to stifle my smile, I walked up to the old man and explained that he was not at the order speaker. He stood there for a moment staring at me as if I was nuts and then started screaming at his wife, telling her how stupid she was. I tried calming him down but he continued his yelling.

He finally got back in the car and they pulled forward to the speaker. The old lady spoke into the speaker but did not place an order. She said something to the employee and they just pulled out of line and drove off, probably from embarrassment.

When I pulled up to place my order I could hear the employee talking to others asking them what she did wrong because the woman had told her how bad their service was and they were never coming back. I told the employee what happened and I heard the whole place start to laugh.

It was nice that we all had a good laugh at some one else's expense but I thought to myself " I'm almost their age and that could've been me" Na, no way, but you never know.

Sunday, February 3, 2013


Many years ago I considered myself a pretty good racquetball player.  I belonged to at least three different clubs so I could play just about any time I chose.

My nickname at the time was "WALLS" because I ran so fast I was constantly crashing into them when charging for a return. It was during those years I did the most damage to both wrists which I'm paying for now. It seems most of the cartilage has since gone elsewhere. These days it's hard to even hold a pen and impossible to turn a door knob.

The story I'm about to tell happened when a friend invited me to play at the Jewish Community Center. Although it was open to all not only those who are Jewish. They had 4 or 5 courts available for members to reserve for one hour sessions and I took advantage when someone invited me to play, I absolutely loved the game and was in pretty good shape at the time. Win or lose, I always played my hardest since most of my competition were quite a bit younger and maybe a little better coordinated but not necessarily faster.

The friend, who wishes to remain anonymous, was in my age group and a pretty even match. We were both playing fairly well when all of a sudden we noticed some green spots appearing on the floor. We continued playing but the spots remained, in fact, they seemed to increase.

We finished our game and were taking a slight break before starting the next and we both realized that the floor was now covered with the green marks. It looked like something was actually growing through the floor.

I left the court to summon one of the attendants to show him what was going on. He came in, saw the floor and shook his head, he was dumbfounded, he had never seen anything like this. He did mention that they had recently had the floors redone and had used a new company. Maybe the resurfacing agent they used was creating the problem.

He apologized to us for the inconvenience and sent us to another court so we could continue playing. We moved our stuff into the next court and started playing again,. Ten minutes went bye and lo and behold, up came the spots. We finished our game, reported what was going on to the attendant and headed for the showers. He was now sure that it had to be caused by the new chemical they were using.

In the locker room as we were getting undressed for the showers I noticed my friend's shoes that he had just removed. They were an old pair that he had for years but hadn't worn for quite some time. I noticed that his soles were green, probably from the spots on the floor. On closer inspection we both saw that the soles of his old shoes were coming apart. The fast action, stopping and starting had begun disintegrating . All of the spots were coming from his gym shoes. We were laughing so hard we couldn't stop but we thought we might best forego our shower and get out of there, which we did.

To this day, some 15 or so years later, whenever we see each other, the vision returns and we break out in laughter.