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Friday, January 9, 2015

Hey, mind if I stop by?

My family has a decidedly agrarian history.  We trace our roots, as far as I have traced them anyway, to the Northern Great Plains.  I still have family there, and whether they like it or not I stay in touch.  Since I live so far away, it normally does not bother them too much.  Every couple of years or so, though, I show up, (appetite in hand, pining for a beer) similar to allergies, or gastritis.  Uncomfortable, recurring afflictions, that are too persistent, and painful to ignore, with no known cure.  They feed me, give me a few beers, and hope I don't last too long.

You may wonder why I bring this up (and may be starting to side with my family).  Don't worry, I'm getting there.  Today, one of my cousins updated her Facebook Picture to a smiling, happy, comfortably, yet fashionably dressed photo of herself, taken, obviously, in warmth, and sunshine.  I commented that it looked so warm we should visit in January.  My wife will lecture me tonight, pointing out that I should have commented on how nice my cousin looked, instead of the weather.  But, she wasn't around and it is my cousin, after all.

Anyway, my cousin said we would be welcome.  This might have been because she wasn't home, which is normally when people (particularly people who know me) want me to show up.  And, my cousin added that the picture was from warmer times, and if we waited until we normally showed up we could suffer through the blistering, humid summer instead of the bitter, bone chilling arctic winter.  Then she apologized for complaining about the insufferable heat, while still dealing with the crippling cold.

People should not worry about those things, though.  Man was meant to complain, that is why we have voices.  So we can raise them in unison, in a glorious, harmonious, chorus of complaining and whining, mostly about the weather.

If you watch the news they spend an inordinate amount of time covering the weather.  Radar, and Doppler Radar, and Weather Center Analysis, to bring you the breaking news that it may snow.  Or, it is going to be cold, and rainy.  Shiny maps, with animated graphics tell the tale of impending frost, or wind chill, or freezing rain, or drenching rain.  There are so many things to worry about.

You may still be wondering why I bring this up, and I can't really say anymore, who knows?  I certainly can't remember.  It had something to do with a trip to the grocery store last weekend.  My wife and I went through the self checkout line, where you can experience all of the excitement of retail employment, all the thrills of products that won't scan correctly, all of the drama coupons being declined, and prices being incorrect, lines filled with sighing, angry people backing up as far as the eye can see, without all of that pesky pay and benefits.

As we finished, I noticed there was a loaf of bread in one of the bags.  Someone had bought the bread, and forgotten to take it home, and it was as good as ours.  It was just waiting for me to pick it up, put it in the same hand as the groceries we had struggled and scraped, and fought our way through the store to buy.  It was found income without the 50% tax rate.  Oh, glorious day.

Then I remembered.  That is almost exactly what happened to Jean Valjean.  A free loaf of bread did not sound so appetizing anymore.  I rushed it over to the person supervising the area, looking to avoid the gendarme.  Ready to bolt, a life on the run, no hope for redemption.  But, they wouldn't take me alive!

It is lost in the crazy workings of a Friday, but somewhere my cousin is responsible for this.  That is certain, what is less clear is how.  But, I have a whole weekend to come up with something.