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The Other Conversation
April 8, 2008 - Wes Burns
Looking around Marshalltown these days a welcome sight has returned. 80's night at Whispers Dance Club? Not hardly. No, the welcome sight I'm referring to is the onset of spring. Snow melting, sun shining and wandering gangs of birds dive bombing me on the highway as if my car was a half-ton Tippi Hedren.
I'm all in all a fan of spring but the once pleasant promise of amiably driving on Highway 30 has transformed into a game of death with these avian kamikazes. With each passing hill, with every dip in the ditch I am forced to contemplate the choices I have made in life as my car is assailed by heretofore unseen birds lying in wait. Like a Biblical plaque they rise from the weeds and grasses to blot out the very light of the sun; or at least cause enough of a distraction by flying at my car that I am too soon greeted with a symphony of car horns reminding me to keep to my own lane.
I know what you're thinking, intrepid reader. How can you enjoy the spring time if you feel your life is being threatened on a regular basis? Due to my numerous debts both public and private my life IS being threatened on a regular basis so I don't really factor that in. I enjoy the springtime for one major reason: the end of talking about winter.
Weeks before the first snowfall winter is on the tongues of us Iowans. Predictions are made, reputations are staked and TV weathermen break out their “Severe Weather Parkas”. Then it happens. Snow.
As the first flake drops to the ground a conversation develops that we will all hear until the very end of winter itself. The conversation goes like this.
"It's snowing!" "It sure is!" "It's fun when it first comes down." "You gotta be careful though, nobody knows how to drive when it first snows." "Sure is cold, think we'll get a lot of snow?" "Probably. It really does making driving a hassle."
That's it. That is the conversation between everyone in Iowa for all months that snow is on the ground. Each person would but their own small spin on the matter (perhaps you like sledding, or are in a position where snow prevents you from going to work) but they are all essentially the above conversation.
With our winter gone I hope that we can say goodbye to these things. Goodbye to the birds, goodbye to my fearful screams on the highway, and most importantly goodbye to the old conversation. Hopefully we can all start talking about something new now; just please don't start with “that sure was a rough winter last year”. I'm begging you.
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