Up North And Personal
Of Weather And Departed Heroes
By Ken DeLaat
Didn’t take long, did it?
Friday it started to steam up a bit and by Saturday the temps were stretching their way up in an attempt to reach the 90 mark that eluded us for two years until making a return visit last summer.
Yes, it was indeed warm and yes, the moisture in the air was fairly conducive to producing a bit of sweat from even the most minor of outdoor efforts (speaking as one who makes every attempt to keep most of his outdoor efforts minor) and certainly it made for a wee bit of discomfort for those less tolerant of such meteorologically manufactured episodes.
However, after what is always an elongated tenure of being in the less than coatless-conducive climatic clutches of Mom Nature’s winter/spring/winter/spring vacillation April and May seem to tease us with, to tell the truth there was a bit of personal exuberance over experiencing one of these ‘sticky’ kind of
...days. A touch of what our fellow citizens a bit farther to the south of the Mitten’s borders might experience on nearly a daily basis.
And yet, as it seems to be with any variance in outside conditions, there came the complaints from folks who disparaged the day with the fervor of one who has just emerged from a trek across Death Valley.
“It’s just too damn hot out there. And the humidity? You know it’s not the heat, it’s ….”
Yes I know. It is indeed the humidity not the heat. Unless you’re in Arizona where that wonderful ‘dry’ heat reaches well beyond the 3 figure mark and no one ventures anywhere but from one air conditioned venue to another.
Of course I recognize that weather-whining is an activity shared the world over generally as a conversation piece that seldom leaves one without material. It is almost always either too cold, too hot, too humid, too rainy, too cloudy, or too something outside for some folks. And when it isn’t? Well, one can still chat about it by saying “what a gorgeous day, huh?”
Well, as I write this it is Sunday morning and prior to pulling out the laptop I took an early morning stroll outside to take in a little sunrise action while affording my daughter’s dog Jake, the 12 year old chocolate lab with a gigantic head, the time to olfactorally explore what may have transpired through the night and which four-legged creatures might have been involved.
It was magnificent. One of those days that occur so much more frequently in memory than in reality I imagine. The sky, while not yet reaching that incredible shade of deep blue unmatched by any crayon, marker or can of paint, was nonetheless tinted in a lighter, yet ultimately soothing shade perhaps made possible by some high elevation clouds that were destined to disappear soon enough. The dew point must have plunged back into normalcy with the thickness of air prominent on Saturday having departed during the night giving way to a fine freshness that begged for some exhilarating deep breathing exercises.
Jake and I sauntered about a bit before going back in and after Lil awoke it was decided to head out for a little weekend breakfast ritual at Newaygo’s City Limits (blueberry pancakes, side of bacon, occasionally accompanied by an order of hash browns). As we entered we ran into some folks we knew, one of whom had been the grumbler about the previous day’s touch of torrid temperatures. After exchanging pleasantries the subject, of course, entered the conversation when I made a sweeping gesture toward the sky and blurted out, “Man, what an absolute gem of a day huh?”
“Could be a bit warmer. It was so chilly this morning I had to put on a jacket.”
“Don't knock the weather. If it didn't change once in a while, nine out of ten people couldn't start a conversation.” –Kim Hubbard
Muhammad Ali and Gordie Howe two of my boyhood idols, not just for their overwhelmingly amazing athletic achievements but for their character and integrity, passed recently. So much has already been said and written about these gentlemen by those who are gifted with being far more adept and agile with their words than I ever hope to be but I would be remiss to not mention their departure since they are indelibly etched in the memories of my youth.
Ali was indeed The Greatest. He transcended his dazzling abilities as a boxer to become a key spokesperson for a generation and was perhaps the best known person on the entire planet during his prime and long after he hung up the gloves.
Howe was simply the best player to ever lace up a pair of skates. After spending parts of 5 decades competing against best the world had to offer, as a 52 year old skater with the Hartford Whalers he appeared in all 80 games and scored 15 goals while collecting 29 assists and helping the Whalers to a playoff appearance.
When I was 52 I had already retired from slow-pitch softball and Howe was banging bodies with guys less than half his age.
The late, celebrated Detroit sportswriter Joe Falls once penned a column about a letter he had received from a guy who during a winter storm had found himself stuck along the roadside. A man stopped after a multitude of cars had passed him by perhaps due to the inclemency of the weather or a lack of compassion or a combination of the two but then a man stopped, got out of his vehicle and proceeded to begin helping him free the firmly wedged auto, a process that took a lengthy period of pushing and shoveling and such. The Good Samaritan that did not simple pass by this guy in wintry distress?
“My philosophy is never start talking about if, and, but, or the past, because 90 percent of what follows will be negative."-G. Howe
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