Although the official arrival of spring was March 20, it’s just as hard for me to imagine March as spring as it is to think of the first 20 days of December as fall. Now, April, with all those showers that provide a harbinger for the May flowers that follow, now, we’re talking spring!
Unlike our previous two winters, the one that just made its exit included some really frigid conditions, especially those arctic blasts that numbed us to the very marrow of our bones during this year’s first week.
When I left for work in Columbus the day after New Year’s, I looked at the dashboard cluster and saw a really sad number, as in minus-10 for the outside temperature. I just had to snap a cell phone photo and send it to my sister and bro-in-law, who were just starting their far warmer Fort Myers morning in Florida. By the time I got to the Bellefontaine exit, the number had changed to minus-12, which prompted another photo sent to the sissies in the Sunshine State.
Well, little did I know that by the end of the week, I would experience a sensation I hadn’t really felt since my days as a parochial school student.
Currently, and for as long as I’m able to handle the physical and mental demands, pretty much every day during the traditional work week, I go to work. Now, at this point, not having lightened my work load yet by calling an end to my Thursday and Friday Knights of Columbus bartending shifts, those days were always laboriously hectic, with my daytime customer-service-rep job for Mid-American Cleaning Contractors in the morning and early afternoon and then hustling on off to get the bar open at 3 p.m.
On 2018’s first Thursday, however, my cell rang around noon, and the K of C manager Rick Evans told me that, due to furnace issues, the club would not be open that day. The unexpected respite from the second job reminded me of my youthful times when, one of Lima’s greatest ambassadors, Tom Francis, affectionately known as “Big T,” on WIMA would announce school closures on one of those wonderful snow days, which afforded me time for some snowy play, that is, after I grabbed my snow shovel, did our 1525 Latham driveway and then headed out to knock on some neighborhood doors and earn some money by clearing two or three other driveways. While the money doesn’t sound like much now, in the early 1960s, a kid with five or six bucks in his pocket felt like one of those fancy-livin’ Rockefellers!
Following a delightfully tranquil and early-to-bed Thursday evening, Friday morning, I took to the still-frozen roads, this time to Bluffton to do an inspection at one of our newer accounts, all the while racing the clock to get done with that job to get to the next. However, yet again, Rick called and said the club would again be closed, and the day became a lot less frantic and, frankly, a lot more enjoyable despite the loss of income that comes from not working.
Following my brief conversation with Rick, I again felt as if Francis had just announced, right after he said, “K-a-l-i-d-a, with a ‘K’” as he always did to differentiate it from “E-l-i-d-a with an ‘E,’” the name of my school, St. Charles!
Of course, if you’re a K of C devotee, you know the furnace issues lasted for several more days before they were finally solved, and it was in that interim that I decided to make my Thursday and Fridays more permanently tranquil.
There are some as they age that nod in agreement when John Mellencamp sang the chorus of his 1982 release, “Jack and Diane”: “Oh yeah, life goes on/Long after the thrill of livin’ is gone.”
However, for me, there’s enough in this world to keep it always interesting, and that includes the rediscovery of that long-lost feeling of finding some unexpected time with which to do what you want when you don’t have to be somewhere you were expected to be.
John Grindrod is a regular columnist for The Lima News, a freelance writer and editor and the author of two books. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.