I must preface this by saying I've watched probably two dozen sappy Christmas movies on the Hallmark channel with the family over the past two weeks. This is not because anyone forced me to – they have a certain charm, especially at this time of year. That's true even though the plots are predictable and the facts are sometimes stretched just a tad. There's usually a message about love of one form or another, maybe several forms, and some hope and inspiration in there if you find it. After a long 2012 crop year and a stressful election season, maybe it was good therapy.
To add to that as I sat down to write this just a few days before Christmas I learned that my son's girlfriend was coming down to our place at the tail end of the first big snowstorm of the season, on roads that will be less than perfect, to see, well, certainly not me.
That does bring back memories of a story in my early days of Prairie Farmer, when I was smitten myself for Carla, my wife, and there seemed to be more farms around Ft. Wayne than anywhere else. That's where she lived.
Don Kelso, some of you may remember, was county Extension agent in Wells County and instrumental in doing corn plots. Don and I hit it off. We had set up for me to come meet him and several farmers for lunch at the Dutch Mill Restaurant in Bluffton at noon on Friday. Naturally, since I was that far, I would go on to Ft. Wayne for the weekend. It was only another 45 minutes … normally!
It had snowed lightly at Indianapolis, but cleared off. The old ad man in the cubicle next door, Bob, claimed it was bad up north and I was stupid if I left the office.
I called Don. "Well, there's some snow, but we can do it – come on up!" He didn't have to tell me twice.
With Bob yammering a bunch of nonsense about my intelligence and infatuation with a certain girl, I drove away. By the time I passed Anderson I began to wonder if Don had underestimated the snow just a bit. It kept getting heavier and deeper. I made it to Bluffton, and met Don for lunch, but none of the farmers showed up. They said the roads were too bad, and they lived in the county!
After lunch I was off to Ft. Wayne, taking a short cut. Big mistake! The snow got deeper, more cars were stuck in the road. At one point, I was almost ready to believe Bob was right. Almost! Then I made it into Huntington, got on a state road that was at least plowed, and smiled as the snow decreased again around Ft. Wayne.
Would I do that today? Well, let's put it this way. I was supposed to go to Decatur today, not far from Bluffton, ironically, but they were calling for the first snowstorm of the season, two to three inches, so I cancelled out last night. Why go to Decatur when my lovely wife was here? Besides, I can go to Decatur next week, or whenever it isn't snowing again. I've done my time on bad roads.
Bob has passed on now, but he never let me forget that incident. Every time in the years afterward when I waivered over going somewhere due to a weather forecast, he would go into a rant. I kind of think he enjoyed it.
Love is blind. Sometimes maybe it does make us do stupid things, but for the right reasons. If that's the case, do something stupid today. It just might be a good way to start off a new year.