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This week, I am out of town with no access to my stable of wonderful writing resources for Wedwand. What to do?

A local reader suggested that a story I’ve told on occasion should be included at some point in this collection.  This is the time.  This is the story.

I used to live on the Northwest side of Chicago in an apartment on a street named Keystone.   It was a block away from an outstanding Chinese Restaurant, a block away from where once an old fashioned ice cream parlor stood, and a block away from the expressway.   The apartment is still there, but only the expressway remains.

This was a time before sidewalk curbs were made handicapped accessible.  Great big curbs were at the corners of the streets, even at the corner on the end of the block across the street from a nursing home.

This was also a time when I was younger and used to jog about the neighborhood to keep in shape.

One Saturday, I was doing just that, taking a morning run south bound on Keystone.  As I crossed Berteau Street, I noticed a lady a block in front of me.  A classic “little old lady” with a cane was also walking south on Keystone.   She was slowly crossing the street.   She too was enjoying movement on a sunny spring day, albeit slower.

The curb she was approaching was at least six inches high.   I stepped up my pace.

Surely she was going to walk to the left, around that curb.   But, she headed straight for it instead.  I ran faster, about a half block away at this point.

As she reached the curb, she planted her cane and attempted to step up the six inch curb.   Full sprint now for me.

There was no way she could make it over this hurdle and she started to lean towards the left.   My burners were on full throttle now as I raced towards Cullom Avenue.

As I hit the opposite curb, she was at a 45 degree angle going down.   I raced forward, caught her in my arms mid-fall and lifted her over the curb.

Somewhat amazed, she looked up at me and said, “You are so strong.”

I replied, “Be more careful maam”, continued to jog down the street and went along my way.

I am fairly certain my strength came from a different source that day and there was likely a good story shared at the nursing home dinner table that night.

So this story is not about me.  It’s not even about the little old lady.

It’s about reaching out and running faster when you see an opportunity to help someone in need.   It’s about not being afraid to accept a helping hand when you need it.   It’s about being in the right place at the right time and doing the right thing.   It’s about a lot of things.

Maybe Bill Withers sang it best, “We all need somebody to lean on.”   I defer to the “Glee” version.  Have a listen.



What would we do without the weather Wedwand wonders this week?

Weather. “A lot of people talk about the weather, nobody does anything about it.”   The quote or some form thereof is often attributed to Mark Twain or Charles Dudley Warner.

I first heard the saying as an introduction to a song on an obscure 1970 album called, “The Association Live”.  Ironically, this band also had a number one hit with the song, “Windy” and I cherish my recollection of their vault of harmonious hits.

Not only do we endure it or enjoy it, weather is a prime conversation starter in the convenience store, the elevator, or at awkward family gatherings.

Hot enough for you?

A bit nippy out there, isn’t it?

Beautiful day.

Nice weather, if you’re a duck.

Sun-kissed skin so hot, will melt your popsicle … (OK, that’s not usually a conversation starter)

Wedwand found an excellent site with some more philosophical weather quotes, some of which you may enjoy.   (My early favorite is, ““A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.” — Carl Reiner)

Where ever you are in this great country, you encounter the adversity of weather from time to time.

Freezing temperatures, snow storms and blizzards in the Midwest and Northern States.

Hurricane threats in the southern and coastal regions.

Earthquakes, wild fires, sand storms and sweltering heat to the West and Southwest areas.

Perpetual precipitation in the Pacific Northwest.

Tornadoes across the Great Plains.

Flood potential just about everywhere.

The occasional daily drizzle in Hawaii on an 80 degree day.  Check that. No adversity there as a rule.  Watch out for erupting volcanoes though.

Yet we embrace the inclemant or is it inclimate weather.

We name our hurricanes.  Katrina, Diane, Sandy to mention a few.  (The first one in 2014 will be Arthur and I wonder if we will sing, “Hey! What a wonderful kind of day” if and when that happens.)

We name our storm systems.  Dust Devils, Nor’easters, Saskatchewan Screamers. Sometimes there’s a “perfect storm” whatever that entails, but they make movies about it.

This winter has been a weird one in my hometown of Chicago.  Snowfall so far is already over that for an average winter. But it’s not the worst winter for snow so far.

Temperature fluctuations of fifty degrees in a 48 hour period.  But only one record cold day so far.

There’s an old saying about Chicago weather that likely applies to other parts of the country.  “If you don’t like the weather.  Stay there.”   Inferring change will come.

To quote a number from a famous musical, the sun will come up tomorrow, or the next day.   And to quote a couple rock lyrics, ride the storm out, suck it up and tough it out.     Or, just hunker down, whatever that means.


Another Wedwand weather related entry was posted last June.  In case you missed it, here it is:


Well here we are deeply entrenched in winter.

Mid January in the Midwest makes for wet and wonderful weather if softly falling flakes are your fancy.

Dismal dreary days abound as well amidst the occasional glimpse of sunshine.

All this Wednesday Wandering winter wisdom got the camel contemplating quotes of  songs involving alliteration.

So here’s the first annual Midwinter Nights loved alliteration lyrical quiz.  I’ll give you the line. You name the song and the artist.  I’ll let you know the next line and the answer.

1)  A while ago somewhere I don’t know when …

2)  Got the bubble headed bleach blond comes on at 5 …

3)  By the window once I waited for you …

4)  Little old lady got mutilated late last night …

5)  Wordlessly watching he waits by the window and wonders

While I wanna think you won’t read ahead for the answers, I feel the need to put some filler in so temptation to instantly glance ahead is momentarily halted.

Here’s is a GREAT winter song video.  It may actually contain the answer to one of the questions.  If you have 5:33 in your busy day, I recommend you watch it:

Welcome back.  And the answers are:

1)  I was watching a movie with a  friend…

Neil Young – “A Man Needs A Maid”

2)  She can tell ’bout the plane crash with a gleam in her eye …

Don Henley – “Dirty Laundry”

3)  Laughing slightly you would run

Blood Sweat & Tears – “Sometimes in Winter”

4)  Werewolves of London again

Warren Zevon – “Werewolves of London

5)  At the empty place inside

Crosby Stills Nash & Young – Helplessly Hoping

So, how did you do?

5 correct – Perfection personified

4 correct – One away from wonder

2-3 correct – Had a half and half happening here

1 correct – Lucky listen

0 correct –   Zip Zero Zilch

If anyone has a song to nominate to the Alliteration Hall of Fame, the Wedwand Camel welcomes whatever wanders that way.  So if you should feel so moved, share your song.