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JOHN EGGERS: Look on the brighter side of things in February

John Eggers

The month of February is like the Vikings not playing on their home field for the Super Bowl. February is like finding a half dozen deer ticks stuck on you. February is like going to Phoenix and encountering a blizzard.

How do we endure February? We have to look on the lighter side of things.

The frozen muskrat

Somehow my dogs, Simon and Simone, found a muskrat along the banks of Lake Julia and they, unfortunately, killed it. What do I do with a frozen muskrat? How about if I put it on the roof of the garage and every time Kathy looks out the window she would see this cute furry face staring at her. Yes, that sounds like a good idea. This is the lighter side of February. (Kathy just added "Not!" to this column.)

The $7,000 fence

During one of those icy, slippery days, my minivan just couldn't make it up the sloping hill on our driveway leading to the garage. Saying to myself, "Well, I will just get out the four-wheel drive pick-up and pull it up."

I hooked the tow belt up to each vehicle and my truck had no trouble pulling it up the little hill. Once I got up the hill I released the tension on the belt just a little so I could easily unhook it. I backed up ever so slightly and stopped. The next sound I heard was my 2014 minivan crashing through my wood fence alongside the driveway and smashing into two dead elms.

What I failed to do was to put it in park or put on the emergency brake before releasing the tow belt. The belt came loose from the van and it rolled down the hill and crashed into the fence breaking it to smithereens.

That wasn't too bad, I could always repair the fence but I noticed that there was also damage to my van. Now it was really stuck in the snow and I did have to call a tow truck. I took the van into the auto body shop and the estimates were about $6,000.00. I eventually paid a little over $7,000.00 to bring it back to its 2014 shape. Looking back at this whole episode, I said, "February can't get any worse."

The frozen blueberries

You might not want to read this if you are preparing to eat something. Simon and Simone's favorite winter activity is going for walks on the lake and in the adjoining woods. Their day is not complete until we have our daily constitution.

There have been two or three deer hanging around our property all winter. Of course the dogs love to get on their trail and track them. They have never seen them but they know a fresh track when they smell it. Recently they have another incentive for tracking the deer. They enjoy delighting themselves on a snack of their frozen, what I call, blueberries.

It's interesting that they won't eat the fresh blueberries in the snow but they love the frozen ones. Maybe it's the texture. Anyway, the lighter side of February is we don't have to spend as much on dog food when there is a woods filled with frozen blueberries to harvest.

'El Viejo'

Kathy and I have been thinking about what we would like to have our granddaughter call us. Both "grandpa" and "grandma" are fine names. But since our granddaughter is one-half Guatemalan, why not have her call us a Spanish name? Kathy is going to have Alicia call her "Abuela," which means grandma and I am going to have her call me "Viejo," which means "old man".

"El viejo" is often used in Latin American countries as a name without any negative connotation. It is similar to "el gordo," which means someone who is on the heavy side. So, I am going to have Alicia call me "Viejo," which I will be or am. I will be the "old man." The month of February helped me think of this.

The 'Darkest Hour'

If we could just stay in a movie theatre during the entire month of February, it might not be so bad. It's the Oscar season and a few good movies are showing at the local theatres. I recommend "Darkest Hour" and "The Post." Both are based on history and both are well done and up for a plethora of Oscars. Although February may seem like the darkest hour, our country and others have faced much darker hours. The lighter side of February tells us, "Things aren't that bad. They could be a lot worse."

See you at the movies.

Riddle: Knock Knock. Who's there? Dishes. Dishes who? Dishes the police, come out with your hands up! (Don't give up. February is our shortest month.)

John R. Eggers of Bemidji is a former university professor and area principal. He also is a writer and public speaker.

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