Tuesday, December 13, 2011

More food and a near-miss

Chariton’s principal Internet service provider, Windstream, was out of service from sometime during the night until just before noon today --- so there have been a few delays.

Withdrawal pains brought about by inability to check e-mail at the drop of a hat are troublesome, so most of us compensated by bad-mouthing Windstream, headquartered in Arkanasas, which bought out Iowa Telecom a couple of years ago.

These outages actually have been happening more often lately, but this was the longest.


Now about that Christmas food obsession --- this is the spread at last night’s genealogical society gathering. Enough to feed the 14 or so of us who turned out, you think?

As an appetizer, I especially liked the giant pecan-encrusted cheese ball. Main courses? Tiny wieners in barbecue sauce (just out of the picture) plus the alternate Frank’s cheesy escalloped potatoes and Ev’s taco salad/dip. Or at least I think it was Ev’s.

For dessert --- I thought about the apple slices, but in the interests of a more varied diet (the salad contained lettuce and tomatoes and no one wants to overdo on raw or otherwise unprocessed food), stuck with chocolate, arranged in several ways.

It was wonderful.

After everything had a little time to settle, a few more pieces of fudge --- you never know when they might stop making that.

In the near-miss department, I was standing at the kitchen window about 3:15 p.m. yesterday, trying to figure out when I’d be able to back out of the driveway and run an errand.

This is always a weekday issue between 3 and 3:15, when Columbus elementary school, a few doors north, dismisses. Not a kid-related problem. They’re always careful and well-behaved (seriously). But a parent and school bus issue.

If you live here, you just have to accept the fact driveways are going to be blocked and travel almost impossible for those 15 minutes or so.

Anyhow, as I looked out, the shiny new pickup that was blocking my driveway started squirming, then pulled out abruptly and shot down the alley. It wasn’t clear why.

Just after the pickup had fled, here came a mid-sized sedan with neither driver nor passenger inside rolling backward down the hill with Mom in hot pursuit.

The good Samaritan in a big van who had been parked behind the pickup, then pulled out a little and stopped the car with his front bumper. There was no apparent damage to either vehicle, the drivers exchanged a few worlds, then Mom jumped in her roaming car and drove away.

If that guy hadn’t stopped the car, it easily could have mowed down a kid or another vehicle or, if it avoided both, gone shooting off into the horse pasture beyond the “t” at the foot of the hill.

The lesson seems to be the one many of us learned in driver’s education, when there was such a thing --- if you plan to leave your vehicle, put it into park, set the emergency brake and turn it off.

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